If you’re dating a trans woman who you met on TSmeet.com or somewhere else, you may have heard her talking about the many struggles that she faces in today’s society. She’s not alone. In many western cultures, transgender women have to fight for everyday rights and respect that gender conforming people take for granted. However, there are several cultures that have traditionally celebrated the “third gender,” and that have historically elevated trans people to a respected level either in religion or society at large. Westerners could take a cue from these ancient ways!
India and Pakistan – South Asian cultures have many words for transgender people. The most well known is Hijra, but in some areas they may also be called Aravani or Jagappa. In the past, before the region’s British rule, this third gender was generally accepted, and was even included in some important religious stories and rituals. Once Britain came to rule, they tried to eradicate transgender people, creating a more western attitude towards them. India is finally getting back to a more open outlook now though, as they recently added an official third gender who is recognized by the government, and a transgender woman recently became the country’s first TS news anchor!
Thailand – Most tourists in Thailand have heard the term “ladyboy,” referring to an effeminate man or a male-to-female cross dresser, but did you know there are many other classifications of transgender people in this Asian country? First, lady boys are called Kathoeys. They are generally someone who still identifies as male, but is very feminine or enjoys dressing like a woman. They work in typically “female professions,” and are widely accepted in the country. Some Thai pop stars are Kathoey. The country also has terms for transgender people, Sao Prophet Song, as well as Phet Thi Sam which means “Third Gender”.
Native Americans – Many Native American and First Nation tribes recognized “two spirits” as people who had more than one spirit inside of them. Some tribes even considered there to be four genders: masculine men, feminine men, masculine women and feminine women. Male-to-female transgender people held special spiritual spots in many tribes, and held important roles such as healers or tellers of the future.
As you can see, trans people have been around for all time!