Hermaphrodites - Inter-sexual - Trans-sexual

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Please remember that the emphasis on these pages is that of religious -cultural orientation and not that for mundane sexual pleasure. It is important to keep these two clearly defined as the end results of the engagement in these acts have a totally different direction. We will try to elaborate here a little: Remember to keep at the forefront that all jiva souls may become devotees, or serve Krishna, where the restrictions are is toward misidentifying ourselves as these bodies and trying to enjoy the body through illicit sex. As stated over and over in these Sex-files pages, sex is specifically for propagation of the progenitive kind. It is specifically for creating progeny, certainly there is pleasure there, but such sex is not for other recreational enjoyment, of indivual or in a group or congretational manner. It is specifically for bringing children into the world, and that's it. Any sex outseide that is considered as being non-productive to it's function and thus non-productive toward its intended purpose, which makes it by definition illicit.
    The majority of souls who approach Krishna consciousness are to varying degrees enamoured with illicit sex. It doesn't matter therefore if one is misidentifying oneself as a hetrosexual, homosexual, bis-sexual, trans-sexual or whatever, all are in fact an illusion. The restriction we have upon is is NOT against where one comes from upon approaching Krishna consciousness, but it is an enlightenment that to make advancement in Krishna consciousness one cannot be engaged in illicit sexual activity of any kind. The difference between illict and licit is simple; licit helps one engage in Krishna consciousness in the suitable ashram (shelter) for which propagation of "Rays of Vishnu" (Krishna conscious children) is allowed; illicit sex forces one to falsely identify the body as the self, and then use that facility contrary to its specific function in a non-productive manner in relation to its functional purpose. Thus we hear of so many "break-away factions" who cannot or will not follow the four regulative principles of freedom, and instead mis-identify themselves as; homosexual, gay, lesbian, trans-sexual, even hetrosexual.

Here are a list of commonly known sexual orientations and a few comments revealing their status in factual reality.

Hetro-sexual Hermaphrodite
Homosexual Inter-sexual
Bi-sexual Eunuch
Transvestite Trans-sexual
Hijra (the third sex)

Hetro-sexual : These are persons who have an inclination and sexual attraction to engage in sexual union with a member or members of their oposite gender; ie males with females, females with males of the same species - human. This function of sexual inclination gives itself easily to the propagation of children in the human specices, which is its function. Even hetro-sexuality that is used not for the express purpose of creating progeny, but instead is centred at giving pleasure or relief to the body of that living entity is being exploited solely for sensual pleasure. Which we may add is not the purpose of human life.
    Often, if not mostly such illict sex ends with the killing of their progeny; by wasting the semen in which the living entities are being transported to impregnate an ovam - egg in the female partner. This may be done by various contraceptive methods to stop those sperms reaching their functionally intended end, such as condoms, diaphrams etc., and the future progeny is discarded as unwanted. Or through spermacide creams, or pills that again vary in killing the sperms, or altering the body function so as to make the person infertile etc, and so on. Either way the future generations are being interupted and killed.
    We neen not elaborate further the case against such illicit killing is quite apparent....................

Homosexual : As the name indicates, this is a form of sexual contact between two persons of the same gender orientation. It is non-productive and cannot of its union bring into the world Krishna conscious children. Therefore in any of its forms it is illicit.
        We have clearly explained that there is no harm in people of the same gender being friends, that in fact is encouraged, but as soon as there's interaction of a sexual nature; touching sexual organs, or in other ways exciting sexual feelings among "friends", then that "friendship" has crossed the line into the illicit realm of homosexuality.

Female homosexual - Lesbianism - Dyke
Male homosexual (Gay)

Got to homosexual section HERE

Bi-sexual : Simply means that this person has a sexual inclination toward hetro-sexual partners and homosexual partners.

Transvestite : We here use this term for a person with well-defined sexual features, but with a psychic urge to appear as someone from the opposite sex, hence dressing as a woman (in the case of male transvestites. - We are dealing only with this side of the phenomenon, since female transvestism etc. seems to belong to an entire different sphere and is obviously not supported by a religio-cultural background).

See Lesbian homosexuals

Hermaphrodite : This is a natural condition that occurs in some rare cases; We here use this term for someone who has been born with the distinguishing features of both sexes; they will have a male genital and a female genital. Some have breasts and female features, that would otherwise pass as a woman in every respect; attractive features, feminine features, full breasts etc. Others have male and female genitals but have a male demenor; facial hair, broad shoulders, large hands and feet etc., these are still more rare.

Inter-sexual : This is again a naturally ocuring condition where a person is born with the genitalia of the female gender and as they gradually grow older into pubity usually a natural change occurs and the organs become that of a male. In some cases it is visa versa the male becomes female, either way, the emphasis is that it is a naturally occuring phenomena and is not aided by operations, hormones or the like.

Among the few who have this unique condition, it has been recorded that many go on to have relationships, father children, and have lives just like those who underwent no change.

Some interesting facts can be read HERE.

Hijra : Recently, a small booklet appeared, written by Meena Balaji, a Mumbai-Hijra, together with Ruth Lor Malloy, a Canadian Researcher, under the title: "Hijras: Who we are". The booklet gives a first-person account of the life of Hijra in Mumbai and contains quite interesting , though - naturally - biased.

There are the people who are not men nor women. They are living their lives in "the third gender". They are called as "Hijra" It means "hermaphrodite" in Urdu language. They compose communities as family and assume a role institutionalized in the society.

It is not correct to say that all of Hijra is a hermaphrodite, but the castrated and those who changed his gender is also included. And they have their own gender awareness. Because of this gender awareness, they have been assuming the special social role in rituals, in performing arts, and in shamanic activities.

Here are the part of the results of my research. I am very thankful for the kindness of my friends who allowed and gave their cooperation to my research.

Though I understand that the use of "he", "his" or "him" is not approriate for Hijra, we should also know that the use of "she", "her" is inappropriate, too. Here, musculine personal pronouns are used, but I am not intend to categolize Hijra as men by doing so.

Further explanations of hajra community HERE

Eunuch : We here use this term for a man who has been bereaved of his male organs by castration, without however having been transformed into a female. Studies in India have reported that with the decapitation of the male genitals in their entirity (penis and testices) it was observed that persons who underwent the "operation" began to develop female properties due to the removal of testosterone producing glands in the testes and actually began to develop female atributes made by estrogen; facial hair deminished, voice became higher, small breasts began to form, and the body's gestures became more effeminate.

There are many stories where young homosexual men are lured by Hijras to join their ranks or to engage in illict sex with them. The story usually ends where the victim is drugged and abducted and made to "surrender" to their new master, usually a hajra guru. After they are trained in femininity; the walk, the gestures, poise etc., many are sold into prostitution such as the many in Curzon St and Falcnor Rd in Bombay (Mumbai).

Often these "slaves" will be again drugged at the will of their Guru and taken away in the night. Their journey ends in being forced to kiss the feet of their Guru and then again being drugged, they are then held down by accomplaces of the Guru or other Hijras and a rope is tied around the genitals of the victim at the root of the scrotum and arouns the shaft of the penis. The rope is tightened in the same way farmers do to remove the tails of sheep, until they are blue and numb. One of the Guru's accomplaces then takes and extremely sharp knife and beginning from the scrotum removes them from the body and then severs the penile member too. To stop the profuse bleeding anoth knife that has been heated to red-hot is placed on the area that has just had the parts removed, thus sealing in scar tissue the netire area. Due to the trauma to the body many do not recover, but those who do recover after about three months when the scaring heals.

There are other incidences whereby hijras hear of a child being born in the local area who were born with ambiguous genitals, they then go to the house, just as they would to any house in India and dance and sing songs and "give their blessings", but if they find out that the child has deformed genitals in any way they forcibly take that child away from the parents and claim him/her as their own. There have been many fights and even killings over attempted abductions like this, but often the parents allow them to take their child. Later on as the child grow around five or six years old the same operation is performed to prepare them for their place in hajra society.

The Puranic eunuch never equals homosexual. Whether or not todays false eunuchs (who are castrated by operation) are homosexual or not is irrelevant. Today's India has nothing to do with the Puranic India of Dvapara- yuga. To draw a comparison between the two is foolish. It is like saying the Puritans who came to America supported homosex, drug use, abortion and many other things since these things are today supported in America. Such logic is a great distortion, and unfortunately many such distortions are purposely being made to "educate" the devotees to accept homosexuality as natural and sanctioned by the scriptures.

Note: http://www.indiadivine.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000610.html (on going homosexual debate)
There are eunuchs (or hijras as they're often called in India), who were born with ambiguous genitals, like the people we call "hemaphrodites" here. There are also eunuchs/hijras who have been castrated in their teens, or as adults. The first type are very rare and definitely seen as having special powers (being able to provide both blessings and curses).

Both types (as well as pre-op "hijras" who still have their genitals) typically live in communal households with a "guru". They used to make a living attending weddings and other ceremonies, but these days those opportunities are fewer. So instead, many have turned to sex work, putting them at great risk for HIV and other STIs.

The ones I have spoken with are quite proud of the description in the Mahabharata where Arjuna pretends to be a eunuch for a year (while in exile). They feel this justifies their existence and even makes it spiritual.

It is true that "eunuch" does not typically equal "homosexual". However, many eunuchs do have sex with other men, sometimes acting out the role of a wife.

In general, India and Indians have a much more fluid concept of both gender and sexuality than we are used to here in the West and our attempts to put everyone into neat little boxes doesn't really work there. I think that's one of the reasons for "the third sex". Madhu

Trans-sexual : We here use this term for a male who has his body changed (modified) into a female by a double-operation, usually removing the male genitalia and replacing them with female design type, most probably supported in most of the cases by a hormone-treatment to enhanse the change.

Tranies - Shemales
These are a different thing again; wherein a male has undergone the hormone treatment to grow breasts, diminish facial hair, change voice tones etc, but keeps the male genital also. These confused souls have no bearing on the auspicious persons who are so often mentioned in shastra as being honoured by their presence at festivals, functions and celebrations, the hermaphrodite.

The material bodily condition known as Hermaphrodite

Hermaphrodite - a medical condition

Human Hermaphrodites

To the Ali - The Mystery of the Threshold - Ali sect of Soth India

seX-files links (all matters related to sex)

The Hijra Community  (originally from http://www.netmagic.net/~anniepoo/sampark/hijras.html )

A note - I really should not speak of such things. I have neither the standing nor the knowledge to speak properly about
the community. Unfortunately, I am alone, "a stranger in a strange land", and have no guru to speak for me, so I have here
told a little about my community as I see it.
  - Anne Ogborn

The hijra community is a group of interlocking matriarchial, ecumenical, and communal religious and social orders.
We admit neither men nor women. The majority of our members are South Asian MTF transsexuals, however the community is strongly anti-racist, has members in 11 countries, and has members westerners might say fit under the general rubric of transgender. In some areas of South Asia our traditional role is as religious performers.

Glossary of Hijra terms

Relationships in the Hijra community

Guru- chela relationships

Every person in the community has a "guru", a term which has unfortunately become synonymous with
"master" in the west, but only means teacher or spiritual guide. The guru, an older, more experienced hijra,
is responsible for the welfare of their chela, or student.
Unlike a cult with a single guru, the Hijra community has thousands, each of whom in turn has a guru. About half of
all hijras are someone's guru.
The guru takes responsibilty for the welfare of the student, and the student promises loyalty and obedience to the guru.
The other chelas of one's guru are one's guru-brothers. These relationships are the closest thing a hijra has to "nuclear family".
The rank of one's guru determines one's own rank. If I wish to explain who I "am" in the community, I say I'm Sheila Hajji's chela,
and Gita's guru-bhai.

Mother-Daughter relations

Most hijras also have one or more "mothers". Unlike a guru-chela relationship, the "daughter" isn't bound to a specific rule of obedience, but the relationship is one of mentor-mentoree.
I have a large number of daughters.

Sister-Sister relations

Like one can have "mothers", one can have "sisters" - people who are of equal rank, and want to declare to the community that they are close friends and that the community shouldn't come between them.


Alliegance to my guru also binds me to a specific "house", an organizational division. If I wanted to assemble 500 hijras, I would call out all Najafgarh-wallis. This division of the community into "houses", like the creation of divisions in a large corporation, provides for better administration. These houses are in turn assembled into kingdoms, ruled over by a concensus body of "naiks", or heads of houses.

Relationships outside the community

We aren't strictly forbidden to have contacts in the outside world, and some individual hijras have numerous non-hijra friends, but social ostracism, communal life, and the generally lesser importance of "friendships" in Indian social life means that most hijras mostly see other hijras.
As Hijras we are forbidden to have contact with our birth families. This rule is applied with some elasticity - hijras struggling with unaccepting families are often told, "forget them - we're your family", but those with positive relationships can freely visit. I have a sister whose family built her dhera(ashram) as an act of religious devotion.

Communal Life

Hijras live communally, usually with their guru. When a hijra has some wealth, they build a house. This is considered an ordinary house until their death, when they will heir the house not to an individual but to the whole community. Then the building is called a "dhera". The dhera is in the hands of the person they appoint, but that person may not sell or damage the house - they are only the guardian, not the owner. Each successive guru of the house will in turn appoint a successor.
Those of us who live in a house are obligated to help with it's maintainence. Income from religious performances goes to the house, but each person participating receives a small share as their personal income. Most of the money goes to the guru, who in turn is responsible for all expenses associated with maintaining the dhera.
Any hijra will usually be welcome in any dhera (not all hijra houses/ kingdoms are on friendly terms, so one has to have a sense of hijra
politics to travel!) so all hijras, but young hijras in particular, are very mobile. Travel is a chance to meet new people, to get away from the ones at one's home dhera, and undercuts the boredom of a somewhat austere existance.
There is also a regular "circuit" of conferences, religious festivals, and meetings. The hijra social calendar is very full, with a mela or an urs occuring frequently. Many hijra dheras also have a small house in a rural location where they can hold more intensive spiritual retreats or simply go to vacation.
The community comes togather at these social events to form a "roti", a mass meeting of the community to decide matters great and small. The elders sit in the center and discuss, and those with less rank hang towards the back. Decisions are made by concensus.

Religious Life

The Hijra community is a syncretic tradition that is comfortable participating in many religions. An individual hijra usually thinks of themself as "something" (a muslim, say), yet will be comfortable participating in a Hindu aarti if the occasion arises.
In areas where there is a custom to do so, we go about looking for a family that has a birth or marriage. When we find one, we go and sing, dance, and generally put on a show. Then we bless the bride and groom, or the baby and mother.Some Hindus believe that our blessing ensures the fertility of the newborn, the mother, or the bride.

Neither Men Nor Women

The community admits neither men nor women. The traditional view of a hijra is a person we in the west would call an MTF transsexual, but there is some variety. The real question is, "is there a sign?"
This question can be asked only when a person is admitted. Once admitted, the subject is not open to discussion.

Finding out more

The only work about the Hijras that doesn't make me shake with anger when I read it is Dr. Serena Nanda's "Neither Man Nor Woman", 1990, Wadsworth Modern Anthropology Library.

Muslim Hijras of India and Pakistan
Hijras Between Stigmatization And Memories Of A Glorious Past:

 Back to Hijra section