Thursday, October 16, 2008


My darling sistar gave me a reference on an old Hindu culture to read Tritiya-Prakriti: People of the Third Sex By Amara Das Wilhelm on gay issue. I was overjoyed because it was an eye opener. I would like to share this with everyone.

People of the third can be found in the ancient Vedic literatures of India, which have thoroughly analyzed and recorded all aspects of human behavior and knowledge since time immemorial. Vedic literatures were written approximately five thousand years ago along with all other literatures in Kama Shastra or “codes of sensual pleasure.” Although commonly presented to Westerners in the format of an erotic sex manual, the actual unabridged Kama Sutra gives us a rare glimpse into the sexual understandings of ancient Vedic India.

Throughout Vedic literature, the sex or gender of the human being is clearly divided into three separate categories according to prakriti or nature. These are: pums-prakriti or male, stri-prakriti or female, and tritiya-prakriti or the third sex.

The third sex is described as a natural mixing or combination of the male and female natures to the point in which they can no longer be categorized as male or female in the traditional sense of the word. The example of mixing black and white paint can be used, wherein the resulting colour, gray, in all its many shades, can no longer be considered either black or white although it is simply a combination of both. People of the third sex are mentioned throughout Vedic literature in different ways due to their variety of manifestations. They were not expected to behave like ordinary heterosexual men and women or to assume their roles. In this way, the third-sex category served as an important tool for the recognition and accommodation of such persons within society.

People of the third sex are also classified under a larger social category known as the “neutral gender.” Its members are called napumsaka, or “those who do not engage in procreation. This non-reproductive category played an integral role in the balance of both human society and nature, similar to the way in which asexual bees play out their own particular roles in the operation of a hive. In Hinduism there are no accidents or errors, and everything in nature has a purpose, role, and reason for existence.

Vedic society was all encompassing, and each individual was seen as an integral part of the greater whole. Thus all classes of men were accommodated and engaged according to their nature. Third-gender citizens were neither persecuted nor denied basic rights. They were allowed to keep their own societies or town quarters, live together within marriage and engage in all means of livelihood. Gay men could either blend into society as ordinary males or they could dress and behave as females, living as transvestites. They are especially mentioned as being expert in dancing, singing and acting, as barbers or hairstylists, masseurs, and house servants. They were often used within the female sections of royal palaces and also engaged in various types of prostitution. Transvestites were invited to attend all birth, marriage, and religious ceremonies as their presence was a symbol of good luck and considered to be auspicious. This tradition still continues in India even today. Lesbians were known as svairini or independent women and were permitted to earn their own livelihood. They were not expected to accept a husband. Citizens of the third sex represented only a very small portion of the overall population, which most estimates place at approximately 5 percent. They were not perceived to be a threat in any way and were considered to be aloof from the ordinary attachments of procreation and family life. In this way they were awarded their own particular status and welcomed as a part of civilized Vedic society.

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