- Third gender is a concept in which individuals are categorized, either by themselves or by society, as neither man nor woman. It is also a social category present in societies that recognize three or more genders. The term third is usually understood to mean “other”, though some anthropologists and sociologists have described fourth and fifth genders.
2. The state of personally identifying as, or being identified by society as, a man, a woman, or other, is usually also defined by the individual’s gender identity and gender role in the particular culture in which they live.
3. Most cultures use a gender binary, having two genders (boys/men and girls/women).In cultures with a third or fourth gender, these genders may represent very different things. To Native Hawaiians and Tahitians, Māhū is an intermediate state between man and woman, or a “person of indeterminate gender”. Some traditional Diné Native Americans of the Southwestern US acknowledge a spectrum of four genders:
4. feminine woman, masculine woman, feminine man, and masculine man. The term “third gender” has also been used to describe the hijras of India who have gained legal identity, fa’afafine of Polynesia, and sworn virgins. A culture recognizing a third gender does not in itself mean that they were valued by that culture, and often is the result of explicit devaluation of women in that culture.