The Hijra of India

by on April 11, 2017 at 7:31 am in Economics, Law, Religion, Travel | Permalink

Driving around Mumba one sometimes sees hijra begging at street intersections. The Indian term hijra is typically translated as eunuch but not all hijra are eunuchs or even want to be eunuchs so the term transgender is more accurate. In India, transgendered people are discriminated against, widely disliked, and feared. At the same time their blessings are sometimes sought after on important occasions.

hijraIt’s common for a transgendered person to be abandoned and thrown out of their home. Most then come to live in small communes of hijra headed by a guru and served by chelas (disciples/students).

We chelas must work hard, do the cooking inside the house, and most of the dancing outside. We have an obligation to look after our guru when she grows old, just like we would look after our own mother. In return, when we first become hijras our Chaman Guru teaches us chelas the way of the eunuchs.

(The quote is from William Dalrymple’s wonderful book, City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi. Dalrymple, however, draws too close a connection between hijra and the kind of eunuchs who were forcibly created to guard harems among the Mughals).

The communes of 5-15 hijras are like families but also like firms. The hijra make money by begging and by blessing weddings and births. The guru’s job is to learn the time and place of such celebrations for which she develop informants among midwives, musicians and caterers. A supra-community of hijra divide each city into exclusive territories. Each guru thus has a local monopoly and any hijra thrown out by her guru forfeits the right to work. A hijra thus has little choice but to work as a chela especially since other avenues of work are closed. Thus, the guru is both mother, father and boss.

The woman in the guru makes him feel motherly toward his chelas, but the man in him makes him authoritarian and dictatorial.

The blessings of the hijra are always double-edged. When are the blessed paying for the blessing and when are they are paying for the hijra not to curse them or just to go away? The hijra are not above embarrassing your wedding guests with bawdy and rude behavior.

Times have never been easy for the hijra but times are especially tough now because only the traditional occupations are open to them yet fewer people today believe in either their blessings or their curses. Many people consider them a nuisance. As a result, earnings are down.

Our main occupation is to perform badhai at weddings, or when a child is born. At such times we sing and dance to bless the newlyweds or the newborn. But can badhai alone fill our stomachs? Obviously not, and so we supplement our earnings by begging on city streets, and performing sex work, and dancing in bars and night clubs. Dancing comes naturally to us hijras.

…We are thus destitute. Estranged from family and ostracized by society, people couldn’t care less how we earn a livelihood, or where our next meal comes from. If a hijra commits a crime, the mob rushes to attack him while the police are only too glad to press charges against him. This is not to justify crime, but to reiterate that all crimes have a social dimension, and in the case of hijras this cannot be overlooked. Yet it is never taken into account.

A small trans and hijra empowerment movement works to bring greater acceptance to allow hijra to move into other occupations. On Sunday, I attended a hijra festival. The hijra were sweet and welcoming when I talked with them but it was not well attended.

The movement has found success among India’s liberal “internationalized” elite. India’s Supreme Court, for example, recognized a third gender in 2014, so Indian passports, driver’s licenses and other official documents now include M, F and an Other category. Gay sex, however, is still against the law (although prosecutions are rare to nonexistent). It’s notable that Bangladesh and Pakistan, two other countries not known for their liberalism, also recognize a third gender. The seeming contradiction is in part because sexual categories are different than in the West so, for example, sex between men and the third gender (hijra) isn’t considered sex between two men. As is true everywhere, all these issues are complicated and contested.

Ardhanari 2Intellectuals can also find support for the third gender in Hindu culture. The Vedas, for example, refer to Tritiya prakrti, people of the third sex, and the major Hindu texts treat homosexuality as normal, or at most give it mild admonishments. Hindu gods will often be reincarnated in different genders or even as hermaphrodites (the sculpture at Elephanta island near Mumbai shown at left depicts a hermaphrodite reincarnation of Shiva). The famous erotic carvings at the Khajuraho temples and elsewhere include depictions of homosexual sex.

The relative tolerance of the Hindu classics leads some people to blame Islamic and British influences on Indian society for it’s intolerance but discrimination against the Hijra is widespread. Although intellectuals may find support for tolerance in Hindu classics, the folk do not. Indians by and large are embarrassed about Khajuraho’s depiction of heterosexual sex, let alone anything more challenging.

The willingness of trans and hijra, both in India and the West, to live with discrimination and abandonment is testament to the great drive to live as one feels one is. I wish the hijra good fortune.

Hat tip: Kshitij Batra for discussion.

Hijra festival 2

1 Loquacious_Lorris April 11, 2017 at 7:54 am

Wow, way to bring the class. I can see that the hands-off moderation policy around here is providing intellectual discourse in spades.

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2 Loquacious_Lorris April 11, 2017 at 7:55 am

I stand corrected! Good job, moderators!

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3 Maz April 11, 2017 at 8:05 am

Alex was clearly miffed when his favorite ladyboys got derogated by Ray Lopez, the resident expert on the topic.

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4 Loquacious_Lorris April 11, 2017 at 8:40 am

Ah, thanks for that grounding dose of assbaggery. I was flying high on the triumph of civility, but too much of that and I start developing unrealistic expectations for human decency.

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5 Maz April 11, 2017 at 11:04 am

You’re welcome.

6 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 9:31 am

Anyone here still have the comments?

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7 Loquacious_Lorris April 11, 2017 at 10:12 am

Sadly, I did not think to preserve it for posterity. But it started with the phrase “Pretty ugly ladyboys,” and progressed downward into the swamp of bigotry from that illustrious starting point

8 Milo Fan April 11, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Ray is usually pretty pro-cm, but I guess even he has standards.

9 Ray Lopez April 12, 2017 at 12:20 am

Yawn. AlexT and I don’t like each other online since we are like cat and dog, he is anti-IP and I’m pro-IP (though I’m not a fan of the current patent system). Aside from that, I bet I have more tolerance of ladyboys than most people around here, and that might even include AlexT, who thinks of them as novelties, while for me they are so common (as I live in southeast Asia) that they don’t even merit comment. And I date interracially. No big deal.

Who is the bigger freak here: the man who says: “l@@k-y there! There thems one dem trans persons!!!”, or Ray who says: “the best looking ladyboys are widely acknowledged to be Thais” (as is well known in any trans beauty contest, and yes they have them, and Thailand is like Venezuela is to XX beauty contests)?

BTW, OT, in India there are all kinds of castes, nothing remarkable there, including a caste for robbers (Dacoits and Thugs, as least historically, Mike Dash has a good book on the latter). Again, AlexT comes across as the yokel who doesn’t know this, not me. Move along, nothing to see here…

10 Thiago Ribeiro April 11, 2017 at 8:16 am

“In India, transgendered people are discriminated against, widely disliked, and feared. At the same time their blessings are sometimes sought after on important occasions.”

It is getting harder and harder to mock the Indians.

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11 Anon April 11, 2017 at 12:38 pm

“It is getting harder and harder to mock the Indians..”

Not really. We know we can always rely on the resident Brazilian to give his 2 Reals on any post about India.

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12 Thiago Ribeiro April 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm

But my effort is ever more Herculean. How to mock such a ridiculous nation? Reading the news aloud is enough.

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13 Bunker Brown April 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Would the Brazilian consider getting a Boyzilian?

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14 shrikanthk April 11, 2017 at 8:36 am

“but discrimination against the Hijra is widespread”

Discrimination against oddballs in society is universal. It is not something uniquely Indian. The prejudices are rooted in historical wisdom. As our societies get richer, tolerance of oddballs has also increased (as has been the case in the West over the past 50-60 years).

I wouldn’t like to pass value judgment either way. Maybe when an Edward Gibbon is writing his tome “Decline and Fall of the West” in the year 3000AD, he may trace the seeds of the decline to the liberal cultural movements of the late 20th century! Possible.

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15 Loquacious_Lorris April 11, 2017 at 8:50 am

It’s a shame we’ve lost touch with other bits of historical wisdom, like the practice of burning the mentally ill alive, stoning aldulterers, or enslaving populations based on the color of their skin!
Perhaps when people in 3000 ad look back at our period, they’ll cringe at your comment like decent people do when they read explanations early 1800’s of why slavery was a good and kind thing for African Americans! Possible!

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16 Loquacious_Lorris April 11, 2017 at 8:55 am

*explanations from the early 1800’s
Whoops!

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17 The Anti-Gnostic April 11, 2017 at 9:32 am

The liberal parade of hobgoblins. I think you get a literal frisson from this.

Perhaps when people in 3000 ad look back at our period, they’ll cringe at your comment

The future will be more Hasidic, Islamic and Christian so I doubt it.

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18 Hua Wei April 11, 2017 at 9:45 am

You mean if the Enlightened Ones don’t kill one another for disagreeing on which is the one true Messiah and which meat one can’t eat without being thrown into Hell.

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19 The Anti-Gnostic April 11, 2017 at 9:50 am

Islam seems to have the demographic and cultural momentum. But Jews are smart and Christians are high-trust so don’t count them out. Of course, African animists are reproducing themselves at high rates too.

20 Hua Wei April 11, 2017 at 10:18 am

“Jews” and “Hasidic” are not synonyms. Which one? Will the bad, normal cunning Jews protect the holy, Hasidic ones from the Muslims? As for Christians being high-trust, are we thinking of a specific kind of Christian? ‘Cause I doubt people who pride themselves on “noticing” think all Christians were created equal. And if in this brave new qorld, cleverness will depend on Hasic Jews and trust will depend on the ill-defined Christians, I guess it is better to check out what the Chinese have in store to contain the Muslims.

21 Loquacious_Lorris April 11, 2017 at 10:02 am

Ah yes, the terrible liberal parade of things that happened. As a young Lorris, I lived in fear of such a parade crashing through my “prejudice is totally justified and the past was amazing” themed birthday party (the cake was shaped like a bust of Hesiod).

On a side note, you seem to have confused the set {Abrahamic Religions} with its subset, {socially conservative sects of Abrahamic Religions}.

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22 Bob from Ohio April 11, 2017 at 1:10 pm

The birth rate of {socially conservative sects of Abrahamic Religions} means that they probably will not be a subset for long.

23 prior_test2 April 11, 2017 at 2:36 pm

‘The birth rate of {socially conservative sects of Abrahamic Religions}’

Didn’t seem to work out for one of the more notably socially conservative churches renowned for their large families. Remember when that Church’s strict (and ongoing) opposition to birth control was just another papist plot to ensure world domination?

One has to wonder why we don’t hear as much about that as we used to.

24 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 4:07 pm

“Remember when that Church’s strict (and ongoing) opposition to birth control was just another papist plot to ensure world domination?

One has to wonder why we don’t hear as much about that as we used to.”

There’s nothing to wonder about: the answer is that Catholics don’t listen to their Pope. The Amish on the other hand…..

25 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 11:44 am

Was there ever a time period when religious people had fewer children than atheists?
It’s possible that children might NOT adopt the religious beliefs of their parents in their entirety.

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26 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Only since the last century has there been a significant population of atheists.

27 msgkings April 11, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Exactly her point. There’s always been high birthrates among certain religious sects, and yet overall religiosity has if anything declined.

28 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm

msgkings, If so, that’s a dumb point, birthrates were always high among the religious when everyone was religious and everyone had high birthrates. There was no active selection for religiosity as is occurring now.

29 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 2:20 pm

How exactly did religiosity manage to decline if everyone was religious and everyone passed on their religiosity genes to their offspring?

30 Milo Fan April 11, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Hazel, religiosity is heretable in the current environment. Either the environment must change or the genes will.

31 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm

religiosity is heretable in the current environment

LOL. Neo-Lamarkism or epigenetics?

32 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Hazel Meade is either disingenuous or stupid.

33 Hazel Meade April 12, 2017 at 12:11 pm

You’re clearly missing the glaring problem with the argument you are making. Let me make it clearer.

Genetic heritability does not change over time. If religiosity genes exist, they were just as heritable 200 years ago as they are today. If everyone was religious 200 years ago, and they all passed on their religiosity genes, how did non-religiosity genes come into being?
Clearly, there is something wrong with the idea that religiosity is heritable.

The fact that today religious people are having more babies has no bearing on the subject, because if religiosity isn’t genetically heritable, then there is no reason to think that the babies of religious people are going to be as religious as their parents.

34 Ricardo April 11, 2017 at 1:45 pm

“The future will be more Hasidic, Islamic and Christian so I doubt it.”

These sorts of theories prove too much. If there is some universal law saying religious people out-breed secular or only nominally religious people and always pass their religiosity on to their children, we never would have wound up with so many secular people in the first place. Extrapolating trends from the past few decades to the next 1,000 years isn’t justified.

Moreover, we have no way of accurately predicting the views of religious people 1,000 years from now. 100 years ago, a lot of religious Christians in the U.S. would have been shocked if you told them that their deeply religious grandchildren and great-grandchildren would vote for a guy who had been divorced twice.

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35 Thiago Ribeiro April 11, 2017 at 2:01 pm

To be fair, three is the charm.

36 prior_test2 April 11, 2017 at 2:39 pm

And yet, it was 37 years ago that Reagan, a divorced Hollywood actor, was elected, in major part due to those religious voters born 63 years before that election. Maybe facile claims of what the religious do or do not believe are just that – claims.

37 Anon7 April 12, 2017 at 4:13 am

Perhaps by 3000AD medical science will be able to eliminate gender dysphoria so that people won’t need to engage in virtue signaling on the topic anymore. Possible!

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38 Chip April 11, 2017 at 9:23 am

“As our societies get richer, tolerance of oddballs has also increased (as has been the case in the West over the past 50-60 years).”

I’m not sure this is the case. Political correctness has had an insidious impact on free expression. Eccentricity, for example, has been a prominent thread throughout British history, and overrepresented in its explorers and scientists. Where is it today? The bludgeoning into silence of the UK scientist and Nobel winner Tim Hunt seems far more typical.

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39 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 9:37 am

+1

Certain types of behavior, like this “transgender” nonsense, are more tolerated. Others aren’t, see the “ADHD” nonsense.

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40 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 11:47 am

Some types of oddness are pathologized, as in the neurodiversity movement.
Why is Asperger’s considered a cognitive disorder, but gender dysphoria isn’t?
It’s ok to think you’re a woman, but having trouble telling when someone is joking? There’s a problem that needs treatment!

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41 Chip April 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Gender dysphoria is in fact a clinical condition. From Wiki:

” It is estimated that about 0.005% to 0.014% of people assigned male at birth and 0.002% to 0.003% of people assigned female at birth would be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, based on 2013 diagnostic criteria.”

It’s rare. The rise in transgenderism today is likely more a cultural movement where gender fluidity is more exciting and accepted, while also attracting people who suffer from other personality disorders.

Sex change patients have very high dissatisfaction and suicide rates after surgery.

42 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Right my point is that gender fluidity is accepted, but for some reason most people still consider Asperger’s a much milder disorder, to still be a clinical condition. There’s a “neurodiversity” movement, but even that almost kind of presupposes that there is an abnormality which is to be tolerated and accepted.

As mentioned “eccentricity” has been a prominent thread throughout British history. In other words, the spectrum of normal socially accepted behaviors may have been wider in some dimensions in the past. Probably narrower for gender, but wider for cognitive style.

43 Bob from Ohio April 11, 2017 at 1:23 pm

“gender fluidity is accepted”

Really? Not by the majority.

44 Bob from Ohio April 11, 2017 at 1:24 pm

“Why is Asperger’s considered a cognitive disorder, but gender dysphoria isn’t?”

Social signaling and politics of course.

45 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 2:06 pm

“Right my point is that gender fluidity is accepted, but for some reason most people still consider Asperger’s a much milder disorder, to still be a clinical condition.”

It’s accepted because if you don’t “accept” it, people like Hazel Meade will call you a bigot and try to get you fired. Even many liberals aren’t as “accepting” as they let on, for instance, my sister in law is a feminist who completely rejects the notion that these she-males have anything in common with the truly “oppressed” such as herself, but knows she can’t express that view publicly because she works in a SJW-dominated industry.

But it is interesting this notion of a “conservation of intolerance.” In the past, homosexual behavior was not tolerated because there was no antibiotics and no social security system to take care of those without children, thus remaining disease free and producing children was very important. Intolerance for homosexuality was the rational choice. On the other hand, parental involvement in people’s mating choices was much stronger, so it wasn’t as much of a problem if a man wasn’t very attractive to women.

46 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 2:26 pm

You would think a group of people who are generally regarded as oddballs themselves would have a little more acceptance and understanding of other types of oddballs.
Especially if you’re claiming to be victims of social intolerance yourselves.

47 prior_test2 April 11, 2017 at 2:42 pm

‘Especially if you’re claiming to be victims of social intolerance yourselves.’

Only victims of the wrong type of social intolerance – their version is as scientific as their views on genetics, which the rest of the world will be forced to accept, thus vindicating those knowing that some groups of people are inherently inferior to those clearly belonging to the master ra … ah, to the genetically superior.

48 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 4:12 pm

“You would think a group of people who are generally regarded as oddballs themselves would have a little more acceptance and understanding of other types of oddballs.”

Well, you gotta draw the line somewhere, murderers are oddballs after all.

“their version is as scientific as their views on genetics, which the rest of the world will be forced to accept”

The rest of the world will be free to believe whatever bullshit they want, we’ll wish them luck, ’cause they’re gonna need it.

49 Hazel Meade April 12, 2017 at 12:14 pm

How about drawing the line at oddballs that are harmful to others?
I don’t see walking around in women’s cloths as causing anyone else harm.

50 The Anti-Gnostic April 11, 2017 at 9:47 am

You can get away with a lot in prosperous times.

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51 Slocum April 11, 2017 at 10:06 am

That’s pretty weak. Perhaps a future Edward Gibbon will trace the seeds of decline to…internet trolls, hipsters, rap music, video games, failure to deal with climate change, excessive obsession with climate change, {insert hobbyhorse here} — Possible! Why would you even entertain the possibility that the health of society depends crucially on continued persecution of oddballs and eccentrics?

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52 The Anti-Gnostic April 11, 2017 at 10:19 am

The future will belong to those who have the most grandchildren. Notwithstanding their public pronouncements, people who successfully reproduce themselves tend to have very conservative personal lives.

The world is actually a pretty buttoned-down place: you have to produce to consume, and life is a lot better when you get married and stay married and have a bunch of kids and stay on good terms with them. If that’s the team you’re on, you don’t have a lot of incentive for putting up with radical deviations from the norm.

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53 The Anti-Gnostic April 11, 2017 at 10:20 am

Of course this doesn’t mean we have to follow Mosaic law and stone the deviants. But they are perforce going to be on the margins of society.

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54 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 11:49 am

So then we have nothing to worry about, as oddballs tend not to reproduce.

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55 The Anti-Gnostic April 11, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Correct. They will always be an extremely small subset of the population. And on the flip side, there is really no social cost to telling this extremely small albeit vocal subset that they can’t go in women’s bathrooms or be in the military or compete in women’s sports.

Where I do see some harm is in aggressive efforts by people like Dierdre McCloskey to shut down any serious medical or scientific inquiry into the condition. And there’s the practice of feeding hormones to children. I mentioned women’s sports as well, which will probably be eliminated at the current pace.

56 Thiago Ribeiro April 11, 2017 at 12:47 pm

“I mentioned women’s sports as well, which will probably be eliminated at the current pace.”
And always will be. You know, my introduction to America’s far-right was Lewrockwell’s site’s texts explaining how American heterossexuals would all be confimedd at concentration camps in 2014 by the Gay Gestapo (which is an amazing name for amrock band). 2014 came and went and not only I stil don’t have my Libertarian seasteading colony on Mars, I also do not have the scaring gay dystopia I have long been promised.

57 The Anti-Gnostic April 11, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Homosexuals are entryists. They enter institutions like Broadway production or the Episcopal priesthood, and the men decamp for elsewhere. Broadway becomes something touristy to do in NYC and the Episcopal Church becomes an LGBT book club. Not really harm so much as a diversion of resources.

Women at this point are unable to keep men out of their sports, so their athletic competitions will rapidly become dominated by men and more masculine women. To the extent we watch women’s athletics at all, it’s because their more gracile movements and stratagems are appealing and variety from men crushing it against each other. So as that disappears, the audience will shrink.

58 prior_test2 April 11, 2017 at 2:43 pm

‘They enter institutions like Broadway production or the Episcopal priesthood, and the men decamp for elsewhere. ‘

Well, that certainly explains a thousand years of Catholic Church history – lucky those Anglicans split off before any pope could get cooties.

59 Thiago Ribeiro April 11, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Oh, the homossexuals and their book clubs. I knew that was the problem. I would still say that the Anglican Church is much better now that under Henry VIII even he being a familiy men like Trump – he liked the family so much, he started several.

60 Slocum April 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm

“If that’s the team you’re on, you don’t have a lot of incentive for putting up with radical deviations from the norm.”

If that’s the team you’re on, you don’t have any incentive to worry about or repress a numerically small number of oddballs, do you? Unless…you think your ‘team’ is so unappealing that people will exit en masse and join the hijras. Do you think that’s likely? Do you believe that in the long term your only hope to keep the ‘dream’ alive is to persecute people who are not on your team pour encourager les autres?

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61 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 2:16 pm

The homosexuals are a much larger group and, unlike the transgenders, they are mostly ordinary in their abilities. If you want to maximize the number of grand-kids you have, you don’t want any of your kids to be homosexual.

62 Thiago Ribeiro April 11, 2017 at 2:54 pm

Or wear belt packs. Which man would accept auch a man as a mate?

63 msgkings April 11, 2017 at 3:03 pm

@Newnall: you don’t have any choice in the sexual orientation of your kids.

64 Slocum April 11, 2017 at 4:04 pm

“If you want to maximize the number of grand-kids you have, you don’t want any of your kids to be homosexual.”

My question for people who think it’s a good idea to try to repress homosexual tendencies is this — would you really want one of your own (straight) kids to marry a closeted gay person who’s struggling to repress same-sex feelings?

65 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 4:16 pm

“you don’t have any choice in the sexual orientation of your kids”

Which explains why the gay population is distributed completely randomly around the world.

“My question for people who think it’s a good idea to try to repress homosexual tendencies is this — would you really want one of your own (straight) kids to marry a closeted gay person who’s struggling to repress same-sex feelings?”

That’s a legitimate point, and a good argument not to try to put the toothpaste in the tube, so to speak, and tolerate(but not celebrate) homosexuality. I’ve always been a techno-optimist in addition to a bigot, so I’m hopeful we’re not more than a few generations away from a cure.

66 Thiago Ribeiro April 11, 2017 at 5:20 pm

“I’ve always been a techno-optimist in addition to a bigot, so I’m hopeful we’re not more than a few generations away from a cure.”
Yet, there is no cure for the Jews who keep poisoning my well. Thanks, NIH.

67 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 6:15 pm

American Jews, other than the Hasidic ones, aren’t reproducing themselves. So, a few generations for that, too.

68 Jeff R April 11, 2017 at 10:21 am

Perhaps not doing so is actually indicative of an inability to maintain standards and norms.

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69 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 11:50 am

Perhaps some norms are stupid and should be changed.

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70 Jeff R April 11, 2017 at 12:23 pm

I agree. The west has too many stigmas about rape. We should be more like South Africa.

71 The Anti-Gnostic April 11, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Or bestialty. Where’s the harm?

72 prior_test2 April 11, 2017 at 1:01 pm

You might get replaced by a woman as Prime Minister of the UK? ‘But Cameron went a great deal further. He also got involved in the notorious Oxford dining society, the Piers Gaveston, named after the lover of Edward II, which specialises in bizarre rituals and sexual excess.

A distinguished Oxford contemporary claims Cameron once took part in an outrageous initiation ceremony at a Piers Gaveston event, involving a dead pig. His extraordinary suggestion is that the future PM inserted a private part of his anatomy into the animal’s mouth.

The source — himself an MP — first made the allegation out of the blue at a business dinner in June 2014. Lowering his voice, he claimed to have seen photographic evidence of this disgusting ritual.

My co-author Isabel Oakeshott and I initially assumed this was a joke. It was therefore a surprise when, some weeks later, the MP repeated the allegation.

Some months later, he repeated it a third time, providing a little more detail. The pig’s head, he claimed, had been resting on the lap of a Piers Gaveston society member while Cameron performed the act.

The MP also gave us the dimensions of the alleged photograph, and provided the name of the individual who he claims has it in his keeping.’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3242550/Cameron-pig-bemused-look-face-future-PM-took-outrageous-initiation-ceremony-joining-Oxford-dining-society.html

73 Pshrnk April 11, 2017 at 11:36 am

“a future Edward Gibbon” will be an AI, so it will trace the seeds of Intelligence.

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74 Chip April 11, 2017 at 9:17 am

As people spend more time online and use pseudonym and avatars to hide their identity, I wonder how many switch genders when they do so.

I suspect gender fluidity will be quite common once life-like avatars and VR become widespread.

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75 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 9:19 am

A hearty middle-finger to the right-wing troglodytes around here. I approve.

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76 Loquacious_Lorris April 11, 2017 at 9:24 am

Be fair, troglodytes mostly keep to themselves. I would suggest slime mold as an alternative, but slime mold is shockingly good at problem solving. Alas, the search for a suitable metaphor continues.

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77 Brian Donohue April 11, 2017 at 4:32 pm

I’m old enough to remember when Loquacious_Lorris was squarely in the “pro-civility, anti-bigotry” camp (way back on April 11, 2017 at 8:40 am).

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78 Loquacious_Lorris April 13, 2017 at 12:21 am

Those truly were halcyon days, weren’t they? But time makes fools of us all!

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79 Sam Haysom April 11, 2017 at 11:55 am

Because they don’t know you and Alex adore social signaling?

Who would have guessed that someone with a LARPing screen name likes to pretend to be someone else.

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80 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 1:15 pm

I didn’t know there was a Heinlein-based LARP community. Do tell!

I loath social signaling. What I’m in favor of is actually oppressing bigots. Merely signaling is ineffectual and self-serving.

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81 Thomas April 11, 2017 at 5:38 pm

You want to oppress bigots? Do learn what a bigot is.

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82 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 6:13 pm

The irony is that Hazel, a libertardian, would herself be considered a bigot by the Leftists. Fire and oppress her!

83 Hazel Meade April 12, 2017 at 4:33 pm

So I’m morally obligated to defend the right of actual racists to do racist things to innocent black people, because some idiots might consider me a racist.
Pity that (by analogy) nobody thinks it’s worth defending the right of black people to, you know, walk around being black and everything, without being treated like second class citizens. There aren’t any white people (or not very many) who might be falsely suspected of being black, so there’s no risk of someone accidentally treating me like a black person. Yeah, I guess I have to side with racists on this one. Someone might suspect me of being racist, but they’ll never, ever suspect me of being black.

84 Bob from Ohio April 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Funny how you think this a flattering profile of these people.

Enslaved by their cult leader. Beggers when they can’t make money by appealing to superstition. Increasingly unable to make a living as the superstition declines. Engaging in “bawdy and rude behavior” when they do get hired to peddle their superstition.

Pathetic group.

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85 Newall April 11, 2017 at 1:47 pm

+1

India has whole subcultures of bums whose job is wander around, beg for money, and not create any value. Many call themselves “monks” but are in fact illiterate. They think that by living without possessions, they become closer to God, they don’t tend to mention the spiritual effects of not doing any work.

In many ways, India is a hippy paradise:

-Vegetarianism/Veganism and supposed respect for animals.
-Polytheism and superstition rather than stifling monotheism.
-Crap wherever you want.
-Obsession with the “purity” of everything while ignoring actual threats to health like crap in the water.
-No cultural respect for this thing called “work.”
-Not White.

Is it any wonder this is the place of origin of the Gypsies?

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86 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 2:12 pm

A most amusing parody of a member of the ‘alt-right’. Bravo.

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87 Hua Wei April 11, 2017 at 3:08 pm

“Beggers when they can’t make money by appealing to superstition.”
Like sending 10% of one’s income because Jesus needs to pay his bills, just cheaper.

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88 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Churchgoing strengthens communities and promotes good behavior, which I acknowledge even though I am personally an atheist. I can’t see what these hijra’s do which benefits anyone.

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89 The Other Jim April 11, 2017 at 9:23 pm

>A hearty middle-finger….

Oh Hazel, sweetie — hate is the answer. It will make you awesome. Never forget that.

And hey, have you talked to your family lately?

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90 wiki April 11, 2017 at 10:13 am

I wonder if it’s ever possible to attain a moderate equilibrium where tolerance doesn’t degenerate into advocacy. We’ve gone from “Don’t beat up homosexuals,” to “Schools can make students watch videos in which gay marriage is treated the same as traditional marriage,” and even to “Let’s all attack religions that refuse to accept homosexuality as OK.”

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91 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 10:34 am

See Korea and Japan. They are too rich and too busy to care that much, but don’t feel the need to virtue signal by advocating a disgusting lifestyle.

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92 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 11:54 am

What’s so bad about the latter two? Nobody’s getting beaten up, assuming that “attack religions” means “say means things about them on Twitter”.
I mean, OMG, someone watched a video… that’s like brain rape or something.

On the one hand, you have a situation where a group of people were literally being put to death, assaulted, imprisoned, and castrated for victimless crimes.
And on the other hand, you have a situation where people are subjected to speech that they don’t like. Boo fuckin hoo.

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93 Sam Haysom April 11, 2017 at 11:57 am

And this is why pendulums delightfully swing backwards. Of course moral cowards like yourself quickly switch sides when that happens.

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94 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm

+1

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95 Hua Wei April 11, 2017 at 12:59 pm

“And this is why pendulums delightfully swing backwards.”
So soon? After centuries of “Don’t beat up homosexuals” being an unreachable goal (not mention state persecution), a few years of “someone talked about my religion at Twitter” did the trick? Oh, OK, then.

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96 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 1:07 pm

I’ve always been on the side of tolerance for oddballs of all sorts, transgendered people and homosexuals included.
I’m against violently assaulting religious bigots, killing them, imprisoning them or castrating them, despite what they maybe have advocated be done to homosexuals in the past.

I’m also against denying religious people the equal protection of the law.

I am however, in favor of saying mean things about religious bigots, and even discriminating against them in employment and commerce. If you have a right to discriminate against gays, I have a right to discriminate against YOU.

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97 MOFO April 11, 2017 at 1:54 pm

“I am however, in favor of saying mean things about religious bigots, and even discriminating against them in employment and commerce. If you have a right to discriminate against gays, I have a right to discriminate against YOU.”

How very tolerant of you.

98 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 2:17 pm

I like gay people more than I like bigots.
I wish to promote a society where gays are tolerated. One way to go about doing that is to not tolerate bigots. This is how social norms are established. You either have a social norm against being a bigot, or you have a place where people feel free to be bigots and every minority is subjected to incessant bigotry. Which society would you rather live in?

99 MOFO April 11, 2017 at 3:12 pm

You like one particular group more than another, so what? Thats not tolerance, its just preference.

And are you sure you are against actual bigots, or just the thought that someone might be a bigot? I ask because you sound a lot like bigots from my youth would would proudly tell you they werent bigoted, they just hated blacks that they imagined to be stereotypical thug criminals. Never mind that they never really had any interaction with blacks of this type, but it was important to let me know that they hated them none the less, but werent bigots.

100 Thiago Ribeiro April 11, 2017 at 3:30 pm

“And are you sure you are against actual bigots, or just the thought that someone might be a bigot? I ask because you sound a lot like bigots from my youth would would proudly tell you they werent bigoted, they just hated blacks that they imagined to be stereotypical thug criminals.”

They were not bigoted, they believed in human biodiversity, which explains that Blacks are all the same. They were the seed of the Trumpian alt-right.

101 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Never mind that they never really had any interaction with blacks of this type

I used to think that racial bigotry was a thing of the past. Then the alt-right happened and I read the comments on Marginal Revolution.

102 Newnall April 11, 2017 at 4:22 pm

“They were not bigoted, they believed in human biodiversity, which explains that Blacks are all the same.”

Nope.

“Never mind that they never really had any interaction with blacks of this type.”

But it seems that, for non-Blacks, the more interaction one has with them, the less positive the view one has of them.

103 MOFO April 11, 2017 at 4:30 pm

“I used to think that racial bigotry was a thing of the past. Then the alt-right happened and I read the comments on Marginal Revolution.”

You should hate those guys more, then. That will prove your tolerance for oddballs of all sorts.

104 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Alt-right types aren’t really ‘oddballs’. Nothing is more innate or primitive to humanity than racism. Besides they absolutely advocate tribal alliegance, and conformity as the supreme value. You aren’t allowed to be white and not bow to the interests of your race.

105 Thomas April 11, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Everyone is tolerant of oddballs by your standard; oddballs being self-defined.

106 Sieben April 11, 2017 at 6:36 pm

I thought the whole reason homosexuality was tolerated was because being gay is (at least) partially genetic. Now you’re saying that racism is partially genetic?

Why don’t we tolerate racists the same way we tolerate everyone else with abnormal social preferences?

107 Hazel Meade April 12, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Because racists cause harm to others in a way that being gay or black doesn’t.

108 Bob from Ohio April 11, 2017 at 1:20 pm

“pendulums delightfully swing backwards”

I would not call it delightful since the main motivation will be rising Islamic influence in the West.

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109 Hazel Meade April 11, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Apparently Islam is bad because they hate gays there. At least that’s what religious conservatives keep telling me.

110 Thomas April 11, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Read sloooowly Hazel: the left prefers gays, the right tolerates gays, the Islamists murder gays.

111 Walter Clark April 11, 2017 at 10:22 am

Several listings, I’ve seen, of countries that are most prejudice puts India near the top or number one.
All prejudice is based on experience with that identifiable group as being not just different but bad for society. I believe the hate comes from the threat of that life-style being contagious. Putting it that way; some groups such as thugs should be shunned.
In India what groups are the most disliked that shouldn’t be?
And what group are disliked but should be?

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112 Moo cow April 11, 2017 at 10:23 am

” I wish the hijra good fortune.”
Me, too.

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113 JWatts April 11, 2017 at 10:33 am

Agreed. Live and let live.

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114 Joël April 11, 2017 at 11:20 am

Me too. But that doesn’t extend to Hazel Meade.

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115 Sam Haysom April 11, 2017 at 11:58 am

Childless spinster that spins all day social signaling online. One couldn’t wish more misfortune on someone.

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116 Art Deco April 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm

That’s not a very nice thing to say about me.

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117 Hazel Meade April 12, 2017 at 12:03 pm

I am married and have a one-year-old.

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118 A B April 11, 2017 at 10:50 am

This fits in with the ‘conservation of intolerance’ principle. Some of the worst societies for poor women are also the most tolerant of alternative sexuality.

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119 Bob from Ohio April 11, 2017 at 1:18 pm

+1

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120 ChrisA April 11, 2017 at 1:06 pm

The post mentions the British as one of the reasons for the discrimination against these transsexuals. Not withstanding the usual Indian practice of blaming every issue on their society on the British, did the British really care about whether some of the natives were Trans? My impression is that the British didn’t really impose or expect their moral standards to be followed by their subject peoples.

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121 Thor April 11, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Depends. Maybe they were up at Cambridge.

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122 polyglot April 11, 2017 at 1:39 pm

The Hijras are one of a number of transgender groups. They are the most visible and are at the bottom rung of society- recruiting from the poorest. They have a bad reputation because they use filthy language to curse householders conducting important ceremonies- e.g. marriage, birth or tonsure of a son etc.
At the top end of the scale, we have high status groups- e.g. ‘Sadha Suhagins’ (eternal honeymoon brides) who dress as women because they consider themselves to be the brides of Lord Krishna. They are very prosperous and run businesses. Generally they are married and have children. There is no stigma attached to this behaviour. On the contrary it is prestigious.
In Islam, there has always been a xanith community of high social status who dress as women. Often they were jewellers by trade and it was socially acceptable for them to enter the zenana to sell their wares to rich ladies. The Prophet did condemn this practice but the legal interpretation was that he meant only boys dressing up as women to get into the zenana for nefarious purposes. Xanith often arrange marriages. Generally, they are exempt from blood feud- however this varies from area to area.
The Ayatollahs of Iran, in the eighties, decided that a transgender individual who underwent proper medical procedures did in fact change gender completely and acquired all the rights and entitlements of their new gender identity. In this respect, Iran was ahead of most Western countries.
The LGBT community in India does not want to be associated with Hijras but does want young people forced into that life to come out of it and get education and gain modern skills. It is very sad that the Supreme Court failed to uphold a lower court’s decision to decriminalise certain sorts of sexual behaviour. However, the Court was of the view that it was up to Parliament to resolve the matter comprehensively. In particular, Parliament must grant equal rights relating to marriage and inheritance to the LGBT community.

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123 Moo cow April 11, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Good info thanks.

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124 Lawrence Gough April 12, 2017 at 7:59 am

An alternative view is that religious fanatics who want to indulge in buggery had to invent a new gender, or force homosexuals to accept gender reassignment, so they could continue their sexual practices while convincing themselves they were still OK with god.
That and the desire to beef up the Iranian female football team.

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125 polyglot April 12, 2017 at 8:56 am

It does appear that gay people are being pressured into state subsidised gender reassignment surgery in Oman. However, the xanith in Oman (which follows Ibadi Islam) seem to be doing okay. Vide https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=gvk7BQAAQBAJ&pg=PA74&lpg=PA74&dq=xanith+in+iran&source=bl&ots=hnBPdvLrGo&sig=QsjrLijIAJVOUJIjXxR5CPxgIao&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiuhNnz957TAhVnIMAKHRsHDT4Q6AEIIjAB#v=onepage&q=xanith%20in%20iran&f=false
The problem of compulsion means that ‘liberal’ legislation could worsen matters. The Hijra were believed to recruit through compulsion- forcible castration under horrendous circumstances- and so were on a level of equality with the ‘Beggar Kings’ who blinded or maimed little children so as to make them more effective objects of pity. Nevertheless, political parties were keen to have the Hijras on side come election time and thus keep alive the notion that this third sex ought to receive affirmative action protection of the sort granted to the Educationally Backward. You see, like Trump, Indian politicians love the poorly educated and having your testicles crushed and being forced into prostitution probably do affect educational outcomes. Perhaps a randomized trial could be used to establish whether this is the case. I suggest that PhD candidates in Development Econ. be divided into two equal groups. One has its testicles crushed while the other does not. If the crushed testicle group shows a higher propensity to quote Amartya Sen and follows a capabilities approach, the thesis is proved. Come to think of it, the Delhi School of Economics did try this approach in the Sixties- which is why Social Choice became, as Morishima said to Kaushik Basu, ‘India’s subject’.

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126 polyglot April 12, 2017 at 8:58 am

sorry, that should read ‘pressured into gender reassignment’ in Iran not Oman- which is an oasis of peace and tolerance in a troubled region. Oddly, Ibadi Islam is descended from the ‘Khajirite’ zealots normally blamed for every fanatical development- like Wahhabism- in the Religion.
Also, kids, don’t try the experiment I mentioned at home. Get proper funding first.

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127 Art Deco April 11, 2017 at 2:43 pm

I’m incredibly aroused by this post

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128 Believe it! April 11, 2017 at 5:19 pm

+1

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