Many times, we have found that transgender, and sometimes including intersex people are labeled as third gender. I don’t understand what it means to be a “third” gender. The word itself is discriminatory and deteriorating. In a patriarchal society, gender has been seen with a class division, where women are seen as “second sex” that means inferior to men. But when transgender people are identifying themselves as third gender, we ourselves are trying to comfort the patriarchal and sexist norms of the society. There is no first gender, second gender and third gender.
We all are equal genders. What could be more sexist than classifying genders into grading categories? But the whole Nepalese laws and even people, have used this term to address transgenders. This is offensive. The word we have chose for our identification, itself is biased.The reason people assert behind using the term third gender is Hindu culture. The terminology is taken from a Hindu book named Kama Sutra where it defines three sexual natures of human beings, namely: male nature, female nature and the third nature. But we cannot solely base a religious book for making decisions on identification, despite of the word itself being discriminatory. How could we agree to a word that has created classes in matter of gender? If any idea based on a religious book is irrational,not progressive or discriminatory, how can it be suitable for being applied in present context. Decisions should be based on correct principles and facts, not solely a book. Using the term third gender is another example of sexist philosophy.
People even claim that transgender is a Western terminology, and third gender is an Eastern term. Gosh! Even words and identification; even liability of discrimination has been categorized Eastern and Western. Transgender is not a Western term. It is simply a term. A term that does not categorize gender into classes, like the term third gender does. If it is a case than, I think the clothes we wear, medicines we eat, and all lost of things are so called Western!
And who says that the word transgender cannot be translated into Nepali languages? In Khas language, we can translate the prefix -trans as पार, that could make a literal translation of transgender as पारलिङ्गी. In the similar way we can make such translation in other Nepali languages. We should appeal linguists to make such translations of LGBTI terminologies in respective Nepali languages. When we have a word that does not have discriminatory values, why should we stick upon a discriminating terminology? If we start to call ourselves, the “third sex” than we will be treated as one.
Despite of its offence or discriminating nature, the term third gender has been deep rooted in our society as well as the laws, legal paper and legal gender identification term. It is good that Nepal is a progressive country in matters of transgender( and LGBTI) people, but we cannot achieve true equality until we are identifying or being identified with a discriminatory phrase.
Therefore we have started a Facebook movement: Not the third sex