Third Gender

Third Gender

(compound noun / adjective)

This term is most often used as an umbrella term for indigenous genders that are beyond the gender binary. They may or may not be accepted in their respective cultures but are traditionally recognized. It is very similar to indigender.

The term “third gender” is sometimes viewed negatively. It has long been used by anthropologists to decontextualize and misrepresent indigenous people and cultures. While people in western cultures may identify as third gender, it may be seen as appropriative depending on context. It is also sometimes used by cisgender media to talk about non-binary people. But non-binary people generally reject this as non-binary consists of lots of different genders. The “third” part of “third gender” is simply inaccurate and misleading in many cultural contexts.

Third gender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. Categorically, third gender people are considered under the non-binary and transgénero umbrellas but may or may not identify with those terms individually. Those decisions are based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture.

e.g. Muxes are a third gender that exist in Juchitán de Zaragoza in southern Oaxaca State, Mexico.

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