UK: Hindus have a long and surprising history of supporting transgender people

A Vaishnav Hindu teacher and theologian has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Thought of the Day detailing how Hinduism has historically supported transgender people “long and surprising approach to gender identity.”

Akhandadhi Das, who offered his thoughts during the four-minute segment of the Today programme which meditates on topics of spirituality, said that the religion had a long and inclusive history of love and acceptance when it comes to transgender people. 

In Hinduism, Das said, Ayurvedic texts say that people are born into three different gender types – with the third gender known as “tritiya prakriti.”

“Our Hindu tradition has a long and surprising approach to gender identity,” said Das. “Ayurvedic texts say that people are born into one of three gender types, male, female and in Sanskrit, the third type. This was considered natural and linked to the vagueries of human reincarnation, as we alternate back and forth between male and female in a prolonged series of lives, we carry subconscious impressions and tendencies with us.

So in Hindu terms, we may carry a body that doesn’t match our gender outlook. The term tritiya prakriti indicates that gendered distinctions should not be based on biology or genitalia, but rather on psychology. In vague terms, the individual defines their own identity and how they wish to express that through clothes, names, sexuality and marriage. Behaviour rather than physical change solidified internal gender choice. Read more via Pink News