In Vedic texts such as the Kama Sutra, the third, or "transgendered" sex.
Whilst there are biological differences between sexual orientation and
gender identification, the Vedic system used this term of tritiya-prakriti
to include all sexual/gender behaviour that was "not the norm", viz.:
homosexuals, lesbians, transgendered persons, and transvestites. This
"third sex" was also typically referred to as the netural gender and its members
were protected and believed to bring good luck.
The role of the third gender was interesting. Whilst they could blend into society
as ordinary males, the more effeminate of gay men (fairies, or Gandharva),
and those being M->F transgendered were often commended for being expert in
dancing, singing and acting. The "butch" ones were often barbers and
hairstylists, masseurs, or house servants. The role of lesbians, or
"svairini" was interesting too. They were considered independent women
and were, unlike stri-prakriti, permitted to earn their own
livelihood. For obvious reasons of tact, they were not expected to accept a husband.
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