I’ve learned a lot since my son left for college. Actually, thanks to his experiences in college. When he spoke to me with some authority about someone he knew who was third gender, I couldn’t pretend to know what he meant. So I asked him. He said basically it was someone who didn’t identify as either a male or a female.
This sparked my curiosity, and since I studied neither anthropology nor sociology in college or grad school, I had no foundation of understanding. And it would appear I’m not alone.
While a relatively new and often times misunderstood concept in Western society, third, fourth and even fifth genders, according to Wikipedia, have been around for a long time elsewhere on this globe. The article sites the hijra of India and Pakistan, who have won legal identity. They are typically born male (biologically) but take on a feminine gender role.
But not always.
Third genders often prefer to not be classified, despite their biological identities. “Other modern identities that cover similar ground include pangender,bigender, genderqueer, androgyne, intergender, “other gender” and “differently gendered.”
Nepal has recently recognized third genders, as well, and will begin issuing citizenship certificates basically legalizing their identity.
It makes me wonder if this will ever happen in the United States.