Which Countries Recognize a Third Gender?

A recent US petition garnered over 100,000 signatures, asking the Obama Administration to “legally recognize genders outside of the male-female binary (such as agender, pangender, genderfluid, and others)” However the White House’s response was tepid at best, essentially saying, “not right now”

But while they tiptoe around the controversial issue, many other governments have already accepted a third gender option So which countries recognize a third gender? Well, first of all – what do all these terms mean? Gender is a social construct, ascribing masculine or feminine cultural norms to someone based on their biological sex Someone’s biological sex is known from which type of genitalia they have And a person’s sexual orientation is determined simply by who, or what, they are attracted to All of these things are independant of each other, and can influence personal identity, which is the one’s idea of oneself

When someone doesn’t identify as specifically male or female, they can instead identify as a “third gender”, or “transgender” This label can encapsulate male AND female traits, or sometimes beyond that into more abstract territory For instance, “Agender” [Ay-gender] means “without gender” “Genderfluid” means “a gender that changes” And “Pangender” [PAN-gender] means the person expresses traits from “all genders”

On top of that, there are still many other delineating terms The United States is one of the most developed countries in the world that still refuses to legally recognize other genders on a broad scale In fact, the total number of transgender people within the US is uncertain because neither the US Census, nor the Center for Disease Control offers those options of identification in surveys They use mostly “heteronormative” terms, like “he” and “she” within official documents But several other countries are leaps and bounds ahead of the US

Currently the governments of about 8 countries allow citizens to legally identify themselves as a third gender These countries are: Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Germany, New Zealand, and Australia Thailand has also reportedly included a third gender in their new constitution which is not yet released Recently, Sweden officially added a gender-neutral pronoun into their dictionary – “hen” – which has been used casually since the 1960s Parts of Mexico, too, have approval of a third gender, termed “muxes”, who are predominantly men living as women

Also, many Native American societies believe in gender variance They are sometimes called “Two-Spirited People”, and they express male and female gender traits Even if the US government is reticent to officially embrace the third gender, the general American population seems to be more accepting Social websites like Facebook and OKCupid have added gender-neutral and trans-positive terms to their list of descriptors for their users Although the US lags behind Europe in terms of acceptance towards other genders, the trends for the future favor third gender inclusion

For one region in Mexico, recognition of a third gender is nothing new at all To learn about the people there check out our video on Seeker Daily, or if you want to learn what’s different about the transgender brain, see the one below from DNews Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to subscribe!

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