Response to Taboo: “The Third Sex”

   In my first year at MSU I took both sociology and psychology classes that focused predominantly on sex & gender, so the whole realm of gender identity is not a new concept to me.  However, National Geographic’s “The Third Sex” added an entirely new twist to what I previously knew about sex and gender.  I had no knowledge of the Hijra’s existence in India prior to seeing this Taboo episode in class.  It is very unsettling that some, if not most, of the Hijra had nowhere else to turn when their parents abandoned them due to their sex, or lack there of.  Thankfully they are able to find some sort of comfort and acceptance outside of this Indian society that has rejected them.  It’s extremely unfair that such a negative light must be cast upon this “third sex”.  Gender has become so culturally defined in our world that when someone classifies as neither gender, like the hijras do, society freaks out.  People feel threatened when others begin to mess with the concrete dual gendered society that they live so comfortably in.  Questioning this higher power that “created two sexes and two sexes only” is a sin under almost every branch of religion today.  Western religion has created and continued to support the concept of two strictly defined sexes: male and female. No more. No less. I think that these Hijras are displaying to the entire world that social boundaries can in fact be broken.  In such a strict society in which boys are completely exiled for being feminine or “genderless”, they are going against norms and banding together to worship their own accepting god.  Although they are considered a taboo in their homeland and society looks down upon them, they remain strong; they stand by each other’s sides without backing down.  I enjoyed watching this video because it showed a different interpretation of sex than that of Americans.  This special episode gave the Hijras a chance to show the world what they’re made of; it gave them a chance to share their stories.