The Third Sex in Eastern Civilization

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Western and Eastern civilizations have always been be incompatible with their thinking and teachings; especially when looking at certain topic such as Gender, sex and religion. Gender is defined as the cultural, behavioral, or psychological characteristics, typically belonging to one sex. Sex is the behavioral, functional and Structural characteristics that distinguish males from females; it is also the act of people (or animals) attempting to sexually reproduce. Western civilizations and religions have always been strict and less accepting when it comes to the conversation of gender and sex. It is usually something that is not discussed at all. They’re topics that are considered to be taboo. As time has progressed Western cultures are becoming more open to the conversations. In my Sociology & Psychology class, I was introduced to the concept of a third sex, meaning that the person is classified as neither male nor female. This subject was brought up in a film called “The Codes of Gender” that was created by a sociologist named Erving Goffman. Goffman stated that the third sex has its own set of gender traits and that it’s most popular on the Indian subcontinent. Western cultures only operate with a two sex/ two gender notion. Eastern cultures are more open to other possibilities. In Eastern cultures there is a form of acceptance of a third sex and in Western cultures there is little to no acceptance of a third sex.
In a book called Culture and Human Sexuality: A Reader, written by David Suggs and Andrew Miracle. The book had a detailed and informative chapter solely about the hijras of India. The hijra’s are neither male nor female, but contain elements of both. They are believed to have sacred powers that have come from their...

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... that it is turning onto a social norm in Western cultures. Most religions in Western Culture have been basing their stances on how society changes and evolves. Christian churches are becoming more and more flexible with members who may identify as homosexual.
In conclusion, Eastern and Western cultures clearly vary in the level of tolerance and acceptance they each have towards what is considered outside of the social norm for sex and gender. This is evident with the amount of acceptance of homosexuals and transsexuals in our everyday society as well as in some religious places of worship. There is also a great deal of tolerance for the idea of a third sex within the Indian and Hindu culture. Eastern cultures are definitely more accepting and open then Western cultures. Many studies have been done to prove this information and this paper draws on some of them.

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