The nature known as hermaphrodite or Tritiya Prakriti is wrongly equated to modern homosexuality; in fact they are very much opposed in many ways. The Vedik culture held Hermaphrodites sacred due to a naturally occurring phenomena, which had special qualities attached to them. Unlike lusty homosexual communities and individuals who are condemned by the Acharyas due to their absorption in the bodily concept of life and exploitation of their lusty desires that they impose into society. The Hermaphrodite is well known for being of little or no sexual appetite, and thus free from such a mundane absorption of a sexual nature. Thus by many the Tritiya Prakriti (Third sex) were considered sacred because of being free from sexual urges like the rest of society was, plus they could understand and relate insights from both sexes, thus they were considered in some ways wise.
Later various warlords wanted to artificially imitate the detachment of the hermaphrodites from sexual urges in guarding their accumulated wives, and concubines. However, as most hermaphrodites tend to be fermaphrodites (with female bodily overall development) the warlords who had these harems, the Sultans devised an artificial means of gaining a similar effect in forcing “detachment”, while utilizing the male form by making captured males into eunuchs. The eunuch and the hermaphrodite are again completely different despite again some equation by some devious persons to suggest that ambiguous genitalia and removal of male genitalia is the same thing, which they are not.
So in this way many misrepresentations and devious plots were made by lusty people to falsely claim to be “of the third sex” (Tritiya prakriti) as mentioned in Shastra by engaging in all manner of debauched sexual practices against Vedik culture. Actually the hermaphrodite bodily situation is not a chosen or selected sexual preference for sensual abuse and exploitation like that of the homosexual and all its variants. Studies have revealed it to be quite the opposite in fact, while having both sexes they opt for no sex. While on the other side some tried to impose sacred detachment on others by artificially removing their opportunity for sex by making them seemingly sexless.
What is considered today True Hermaphrodites, which occur roughly to some degree or another in one in 2000 persons are a totally different thing.
Sadly due to pressure by modern society to define and explore avenues of sexuality so that they fit in and become socially accepted, again forms of surgical alteration are performed on young girls (fermaphrodites) who show that they also have a male genitalia, and it is removed, and the female genitalia sculptured to “normality”. Similarly those young boys (mermaphrodites) who are primarily soft-masculine it is revealed also have a female genitalia are operated on to close the labia and thus fit to social normality.
In Vedik astrology the hermaphrodite issue is extended into inclination issues coming from mixtures of the potencies of the Janma nakshatra (birth constellation) as well as the physical gender of the person. Such combinations might make a person with a male body have soft nature of a female nakshatra such as Swati or Sravan, or Dhanistha, and similarly one born with a female body might have male inclinations due to such Janma nakshatras as Pushyami, Purva Bhadrapad, or Hasta. While still others of male or female gender might have a hermaphrodite Janma nakshatra, such as Satabhisakam (some say Mula and Mrigasira too). However, this is not to say that all persons with those nakshatras are hermaphrodites, yet studies have found that many of hermaphrodite nakshatras do indeed have a tendency toward either genital deformity (mal-formed, excessively large or small genitalia) etc.
So some might say that more than Tritiya Prakriti (three sexes) there are in fact Pancha Prakriti (five sexes); 1/. male with male nakshatra, 2/. Female with female nakshatra, 3/. Male with female nakshatra, and 4/. Female with male nakshatra, and 5/. The hermaphrodite.
This short explanation makes sense of the inclinations that people have with feeling radical urges to go out and change their gender artificially, or try to follow strong pressure of bewildered peers or elders (in some cases) to follow a path of lusty misidentification as an homosexual adherent as condemned in these pages.
Certainly devotees may come from any walk of life, but the clear seeing Acharya Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur openly declares in his Sri Chaitanya Shikshamrita that there are two kinds of devotees, the Ordinary Devotee, and the Transcendentally Situated devotee. Those persons who have emerged over the past few years declaring themselves as Gay and Lesbian Vaishnavas are situated in the Ordinary Devotee section and can only graduate to the Transcendental stage of devotees when they give up illicit sexual connection that is non-productive being homosexual in nature. When they rise to follow the regulative principles of the Kanistha adhikari then their status changes to aspiring to be Transcendentally Situated.
The above point is very important in keeping the sanity of the parampara, and not cheapening the worth and quality of being factually detached from mundane bodily inclinations. Unless we remind ourselves and appreciate those who have genuinely made a sacrifice in focusing on the service of the Lord, the indiscriminate blending in some artificial equilateral oneness will have great harmful effects on Vaishnava society. There’s no harm being an Ordinary devotee, in fact better an ordinary devotee than a non-devotee, but a Transcendentally Situated devotee, especially those who are in the Madhyama stage of steadiness (Nistha and above) who do not struggle to follow the regulative principles of freedom, who rather are situated in them, free from Anarthas, are special and worthy of taking shelter of.
The Ordinary devotee often just goes along with life unable or un-desirous of understanding that they are different from their body, it’s demands, and dictates, and often gives in to those demands. The Ka-nistha (un-steady) adhikari struggles with becoming situated in the Transcendental status, and with good association, and regulating practical service to the Lord and the devotees in time one can become fixed and gain a taste. This is a most desirous platform for developing rapid advancement in devotional service.
Instead of declaring ourselves by bodily inclination or such designation (Gay and Lesbian – male or female, or Hermaphrodite) Bhaktivinod Thakur and all the Acharyas strongly suggest that we instead give up all such “dharmas” (“isms” and or material designations and inclinations) as mentioned in Bhagavad Gita’s 18:68 and surrender unto the Lord’s plan.
I hope that these few lines make things clearer, and enthuse all to gain further realization to who we are, our purpose, and reformation of our character to please the Lord more and more daily as He gives us the taste that we are always hungry for (Bhagavad Gita 2:59.) visaya vinivartante…..etc and not to dwell on the misinformation or misunderstanding that we are of a particular sexual preference firstly and forget about all higher taste as mentioned in this verse. If we are at all to get out of this maya we must understand who we really are, that we are not these bodies, that we are not the puppets to dance in the hands of the senses, rather we are eternal spiritual beings free from these lusty aims that cause us so much lamentation, frustration, anger and cause us repeated birth and death in this world.....this we MUST know !!!!!
We are jivera swarupa hoya krsnera nitya dasa, no mention of inclination to what the MATERIAL senses lean toward..........
Hermaphroditism is when an animal has both testicular and ovarian tissues. Sometimes one gonad becomes a testis while the other becomes an ovary; sometimes the gonads become "ovotestes" containing a mixture of male and female components. Hermaphroditism occurs rarely in human populations, and the view that it is pathological (i.e., a disease state) is changing. Although hermaphroditism is often associated with infertility, that is not always the case. Indeed, in the 1600s, a hermaphrodite living as a woman was put to death after having impregnated his/her master's daughter (see Fausto-Sterling, 1993). The medical problems of hermaphrodites are not usually that of sex but of other bodily functions thrown out of register by anatomical shifts (such as tumors from undescended testes).
Anne Fausto-Sterling (1993, 2000) and Alice D. Dreger (1998) have written eloquently about the problems of hermaphroditism. Often, if not always, she claims, the problems are those of a society that insists on one sex per body and that is uncomfortable with the concept of hermaphrodites. The hermaphrodites, themselves, seem rather well adjusted. Indeed, our language does not recognize any sexual system except that of dualism, and one can't even write about the experiences of hermaphrodites without using phrases such as (s)he or his/her.
Classifying newborn infants as to whether they are male or female is usually straightforward. One looks at the phallus and sees whether it is a penis (long) or clitoris (short). One looks to see if there are two labia (vaginal lips) or if they have fused into a scrotum. One also can look to see if the urethra (the excretory tube from the bladder) opens through the phallus (as in males) or if it has a separate opening (as in females). However, sometimes nature does not give you an either/or situation. Guinet and Decourt (1969) for instance, described 98 cases of "true" hermaphroditism, wherein a person had both ovarian and testicular tissue. In some cases, the phallus is somewhere in between that of a penis and a clitoris. In some cases, the labia were partially fused and the urethra ran close to the phallus. In such cases, the menstrual blood exited during urination. Some hermaphrodites had penises and large breasts.
Hermaphrodites have created some interesting situations. In 1843, Levi Suydam, a 23 year old resident of Salisbury, Connecticut, asked the town magistrates to validate his right to vote as a Whig in a particularly divisive local election. The opposition party raised objections, saying that Levi was really a woman and therefore unable to vote. A doctor examined him and declared that he had a penis and was therefore a man. Duydam voted and the Whig candidate won by a single vote. Within a few days after the election, Suydam had his monthly menstrual bleeding (Fausto-Sterling, 1993). Hugh Young (1937) relates that one of his patients, a hermaphrodite named Emma had a penis-sized clitoris and a vagina. Raised as a girl, she could have "normal" heterosexual relationships with both men and women. And she did. She functioned sexually as both male and female all her adult life.
However, as medicine became more sophisticated, it decided that society did not tolerate hermaphrodites and parents wanted their babies to be either male or female. In the early 1900s, "true" sex was said to be the sex of the gonads. Thus, people having androgen insensitivity syndrome were classified as "really" males, even though their entire physical appearance and usually their sexual orientation was female (Dreger, 1998). It was thought that society could not deal with people who were not either one or the other sex. (And, as Dreger demonstrates, this was stated explicitly by several physicians). Our birth registries still demand that a newborn be quickly placed into one or the other category, and in the early 1900s, knowledge of the "true" sex of a person was thought to be critical to prevent inadvertent homosexual relations. Our current classification scheme of male and female pseudohermaphrodites reflects this gonadal (and later, chromosomal) assignment of sex. A male pseudohermaphrodite (usually caused by androgen receptor mutations) has a female phenotype but male gonads, while a female pseudohermaphrodite (usually caused by congenital adrenal hyperplasia where the adrenal gland secretes testosterone) has a male phenotype but has ovaries.
Starting in the 1960s, babies born with ambiguous genitalia were "assigned" a sex that seemed appropriate based on the genitalia that they had. Those with large phalluses had their labia closed and became males, while those with smaller but still larger than normal phalluses had them surgically shortened and became females. In the 1990s, some of the individuals who were surgically assigned their sex founded the Intersex Society of America (ISNA) and lobbied to speak to physicians to have them change their usual practice of surgically amending nature. Their arguments convinced many physicians that having a baby of ambiguous sex was not a medical emergency, that interventions should be reversible, and that time should be taken to discuss these issues with parents and patients with such conditions. Some physicians have argued that having a child with ambiguous genitalia is an emergency to the parents of such a child who want to know what sex their child is and to tell their friends and relatives that they have either a girl or a boy. The arguments of the ISNA group are summarized in an article by Alice D. Dreger and in presentations comparing surgical intervention with what they hope will be a patient-centered therapy approach.
Fausto-Sterling contends that sex is a continuum rather than a collection of discretely defined phenotypes. She proposes that along this continuum are five points: male, ferm (female pseudohermaphrodite), hermaphrodite, merm (male pseudohermaphrodite), and female. Each has variations that shade into the neighboring point. She estimates the frequency of all sexually mosaic conditions (hermaphrodites and pseudohermaphrodites) in humans to be about 1% of the population.
Hermaphrodites have a long history. Indeed, many traditional cultures believed that the original person was perfect. Perfection means having no wants that need to be satisfied, so the first person was hermaphrodite. This can be seen in Plato's Symposium, where the original form of humanity was hemaphrodite, but when they got too numerous Zeus, decided to split them in half. After having done so, he finds that the now-separate sexes spend all their time trying to join themselves back together. Zeus decides to help these creatures by moving their genitalia such that when any two embraced, they might conceive and thus propagate. In some interpretaions of Genesis, the primal Adam was a hermaphrodite, and the cleaving of this original person into male and female is evidence of the Fall. So, as the saying goes, "No one's perfect."
Fausto-Sterling, A. 2000. The five sexes, revisited. The Sciences (July/August): 19-23.
Youg, H. H. 1937. Genital Abnormalities, Hermaphroditism, and Related Adrenal Diseases, quoted in Fausto-Sterling, 1993, op. cit., p. 2