Sex – Third Gender .

January 13, 2021 By Swapnil Suryawanshi

Third gender, or third sex, 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”; some anthropologists and sociologists have described fourth, fifth, and “some” genders.

Biology determines whether a human’s chromosomal and anatomical sex is malefemale, or one of the uncommon variations on this sexual dimorphism that can create a degree of ambiguity known as intersex. However, 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. Not all cultures have strictly defined gender roles.

World map of nonbinary gender recognition

Sex and gender

World map of nonbinary gender recognitionMain article: Legal recognition of non-binary gender

Since at least the 1970s, anthropologists have described gender categories in some cultures which they could not adequately explain using a two-gender framework. At the same time, feminists began to draw a distinction between (biological) sex and (social/psychological) gender. Contemporary gender theorists usually argue that a two-gender system is neither innate nor universal.

2nd century Roman copy of a Greek sculpture. The figure is Hermaphroditus, from which the word hermaphrodite is derived.


  1. ^ Trumbach, Randolph (1994). London’s Sapphists: From Three Sexes to Four Genders in the Making of Modern Culture. In Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History, edited by Gilbert Herdt, 111-36. New York: Zone (MIT). ISBN 978-0-942299-82-3