Talk:Hinduism and LGBT topics

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External links[edit]

I'm thinking of removing the link to the personal weblog Being a gay Hindu. I think it is questionable whether it belongs linked in the article as it seems rather personal and somewhat off the topic for the page other then the title of the blog. Please discuss and re-add the link if you disagree.

I would like to suggest adding a link to the following website, which provides a lot of further information regarding homosexuality and Hinduism:

"The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association" (GALVA-108)

The main article, "Tritiya-Prakriti: People of the Third Sex," is especially informative for those wishing to dive more deeply into this subject.


As of July 2011 this article does not show the vast Hindu literature disapproving of homosexuality. It also mistakenly takes the treatment of Gods as tenderness to further a bias. This article is not showing the vast literature in Hinduism that disapproves of Homosexuality. An anonymous editor removed a portion containing such information brushing it aside as contextual. Clear references are given. Please reinsert the following:

Homosexuality is specifically condemned in a number of Hindu texts including the Mahabharatha "Foolish and evil men engage in all forms of sexual intercourse without a female womb, forcing themselves upon other men. They are born again without their organs as neuters." (Mahabharata 13.145.52). It is also condemned in the Garuda Purana as Vajrakandaka. Finally marriage in Hinduism is said to fulfill three functions: Prajaa, Dharma, and Rati. In marriage, Prajaa is progeny for perpetuation of one's family, Dharma is fulfillment of responsibilities, and Rati is companionship as friends and mutual pleasure as lovers. Therefore it can only be between a man and a woman.

Bias on hot topic issues should not be tolerated on wikipedia. We should present both sides fairly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:16, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

There is an incredibly long list of what hindu proponents of homosexuality believe, but there is no such list for those who disapprove of homosexuality??

Deepha Mehta's 1996 film, Fire, which featured a lesbian relationship, sparked extremely violent riots in India in protest of homosexuality. Hindu clerics spoke out violently against the film. This incident illustrates that a condemning view of homosexulaity is present- if not prevalent- in modern hinduism, and therefore needs to be explored and examined in this article. The apparent bias currently present in the article does not conform to Wikipedia's N-POV standards.

I agree. It was even more unbalanced a few weeks ago when I came across this article. I made some changes to the lead section but clearly it needs more work. By the way, there was no outcry at my changes, so the way is clear for you to go ahead and revise/expand the article as you suggest. ntennis 07:14, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I am no expert on Hinduism. While I am willing to do research, I have added the POV-check template, so that some expert will hopefully aid us in rescuing this article from POV.Singlewordedpoem 06:29, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
This article is SOOO biased. It does not cover the anti-homosexuality clauses from the constitution. It "ASSUMES" that all the third type of men are homosexuals and transexuals. And how the hell is it even covering Arjuna as a homosexual when he was clearly an enuch. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:51, 6 March 2007 (UTC).

I have read the whole Mahabharata and it never opposes homosexuality. If we read the quote above it talks of forcing on other men i.e involuntary which is not the loving sensuality that Hinduism encourages.

Hindu Clerics dont represent Hinduism but only the Indian societal norms. Hence few renegade Hindu clerics speaking violently does not mean anything. Attaching a vedio on Homosexuality by arguably the most famous Hindu saint currently living which is quite permissive.

Yes Arjuna is not a Homosexual but of a neuter gender which is synonymous with transgender which is part of LGBT. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:02, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Ntennis, nice edits![edit]

...That's really all I have to say.  :) Singlewordedpoem 05:13, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Hey thanks! ^_^ I've just been tinkering really. More to come. ntennis 05:26, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Ntennis, you are my favourite editor. Wandering Star 00:03, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Wow, thanks for participating in Be Nice To Ntennis Week. This is is single best compliment I've yet received! To both of you, it really makes a difference getting encouragement like this. ntennis 01:44, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

How this article got so messed up...[edit]

Looking through the history of this article, I can see that it started well, but was derailed by some probably well-meaning anonymous editors. eg. [1], [2], [3], [4]. It appears that no wikipedians were reviewing these edits. I'll keep the page on my watchlist and fact-check any future changes, and I encourage all interested parties to do the same. For now, I've overhauled the article, removing large sections of unsourced speculation and opinions. ntennis 03:41, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Hey anonymous editor![edit]

Please read the talk page and discuss your ideas on the talk page before you revamp this article in your own interests. Other wikipedians (namely NTennis) have been editing this article in the interest of preserving Wikipedia's N-POV standards, NOT THEIR OWN VIEWS. Please consider taking that approach. Thank you for your understanding. Singlewordedpoem 06:40, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for that Singlewordedpoem. I've changed a few other things back, but I want to encourage discussion rather than stifle it, so please speak up if you think my edits are inappropriate.
I think we need to be mindful of conflating categories from the Hindu texts that are essentially about gender with modern gay and lesbian identities, which are primarily about erotic preference. I'll have a look at the original sanskrit when I have a moment to interrogate terms translated as "damsel", "third sex", etc.
I also don't think we can say that Vatsyayana's Kama Sutra is part of the Hindu canon. It's certainly not part of Śruti, nor can I find a reference to it as Smriti. I have read that portrayals of the exotic East as sexually liberated, exemplified in the Kama Sutra and certain Hindu temple walls, says more about western anxieties about sex than actual eastern values. For example, the Kama Sutra was first introduced into the English-speaking world in the late nineteenth century by Richard Burton. Burton scholar Ben Grant argued recently in Translating ‘The’ Kama Sutra (Third World Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp 509 – 516, 2005) that it was appropriated and represented as canonical in order to challenge repressive Victorian sexual morality. I'm still looking around for a good evaluation of the place of the Kama Sutra within the Hindu religious tradition. Anyone else have thoughts on this? ntennis 04:01, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
I really appreciate your expertise on this issue. While I doubted the Kama Sutra's place in the Hindu canon, I actually had no idea, and therefore gave the anonymous editor (with his authoritative terminology and tone) the benifit of the doubt. I do, however, appreciate his addition of the reference to a "third gender." I know you've noticed, over on the Buddhism and Homosexuality talk page, that such terms can be very difficult to decipher. ;) As I suggested over there, it may be best to leave the term open to interpretation, or to mention that there is no modern english equivalent of such a term. Perhaps it encompasses hermaphroditism as well as homosexuality?
I discussed with my Indian friend the role of the Kama Sutra in conventional/contemporary hindu and society, and she said it has a significantly more prominent role in any given Barnes & Noble here in the states than in the entire country of India. Yet why that's the case is a sticky topic, one that wasn't cleared up by google, or the wikipedia articles on tantra, the kama sutra, the history of sex, the history of sex in india or kama shastra. (Unfortunately, those articles seem to be struggling with their own problems of POV and verifiability.) The problem, I think, is that the Kama Sutra's absense in conventional/traditional Hindu views could be due to its repression or its actual insignificance. Like alternative gospels in Christianity, the true or intended significance of the work, and its original cultural context is lost in the forces of history. It could have been expressing traditional hindu views at the time, but that wave of thought has long passed due to India's contact with the more puritanical forces of the Arab and Western world; or it could have been a minor document with inflated significance due only to its salicious content. This issue is complicated further by the lack of a central Hindu authority or a single authoritative scripture. I don't know how we could get to the bottom of this. Any ideas? (By the way, I think the other Wikipedia pages I mentioned should be focusing on this on their talk pages, more than we should...but that's completely besides the point.)  :) Singlewordedpoem 05:30, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
You ask good questions but i don't have a good answer. :s More research? ntennis 04:40, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
I just noticed this sentence: "People of a third gender (tritiya-prakrti), neither men nor women, are referred to throughout the literature, and modern readers often draw parallels between these and modern lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sexual identities." It's exactly the kind of clarification of the term that I was hoping we'd include. Sorry I didn't read before I commented! Having read over the article again, I do have one tiny bit of constructive criticism; the following excerpt seems unnecessarily long: "O lord of the Earth, I will declare myself as one of the neuter sex. O monarch, it is, indeed difficult to hide the marks of the bowstring on my arms. I will, however, cover both my cicatrized arms with bangles. Wearing brilliant rings on my ears and conch-bangles on my wrists and causing a braid to hang down from my head, I shall, O king, appear as one of the third sex, Vrihannala by name. And living as a female I shall (always) entertain the king and the inmates of the inner apartments by reciting stories. And, O king, I shall also instruct the women of Virata's palace in singing and delightful modes of dancing and in musical instruments of diverse kinds. And I shall also recite the various excellent acts of men..." In fact, I'm not sure it's necessary at all, although I do appreciate the descriptions of cross-dressing. If we keep it, I think it should end at "Vrihannala by name," as I'm unsure of the significance of everything after that, unless "reciting stories" is a euphamism for a sexual act. ;) That quote, however, also confuses me. It seems to contradict itself by referring to Arjuna's alter-eog as both a third, neuter sex, and a female. Any ideas why? Did eunichs typically dress like females?
Singlewordedpoem 05:44, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough. I copied that from the third gender page and pasted it into the 'mythology' section on this article just to fill it out until more examples are added (there's quite a few stories that could go here). The reason I put the entire quote on the third gender page in the first place was because ritual singing, dancing, playing music and telling stories seem to have been traditional roles for various third gender types in the ancient world, at least from rome and egypt right across to India. (Also, the symbolic import of bangles apparently persists in modern India.)
As for the multiple terms for Vrihannala's gender, that's precisely what appeals to me! I guess that the author's world included non-reproductive ("neuter") feminine males who were understood as a third sex, who in many ways "lived as female" — in terms of dress, social spaces, language etc. Anyway, please truncate or remove the quote as you see fit; I'm not attached to it. ntennis 04:40, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
That all makes me wonder, is Vrihannala typically a female name?
Thank you for that explanation! I now appreciate why you included the quote. But I think the practices it describes (and their third-gender significance) should be explained to other readers, who, like me, are uninitiated into the cultural norms of Hindu society. Perhaps even summarize much of the quote instead of including it, with something along the lines of:
"O lord of the Earth, I will declare myself as one of the neuter sex...I shall, O king, appear as one of the third sex, Vrihannala by name." The story then describes Arjuna disguising himself as a "neuter" by wearing the traditional bangles, earings and a braid; he also takes up singing, telling stories and providing entertainment-- as third-gendered people did throughout the ancient world. Like Vrihannala, these people took on roles and adorned their bodies in ways that were [are?] more typically feminine. The story underscores this feminine identification by referencing Vrihannala sometimes as a female and sometimes as a neuter sex. In many religious and scriptural stories, gods take the third sex's ambiguously female role. Many scholars believe this indicates the basic Hindu belief that the universal soul [use better word than soul] transcends all bodies, and all of their characteristics, including gender and sexuality.
I do have a source for the last assertion, although it's rather biased: Something very important that I think should be included in the paragraph is whether third-gendered people's role was also asexual. That may, of course, vary from person-to-person, but much else about a third-gendered life seemed pre-determined. Do you know if sexuality was factored in?
Obviously, the above paragraph is very, very much a work-in-progress. I made a lot of conclusions about stuff I didn't know much about just to provide an idea of how the paragraph could flow. Please edit it to death. :)
Singlewordedpoem 08:36, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
For now I shortened the quote as per your initial suggestion. I agree that readers need additional background and pointers to clarify these texts. I was trying to steer clear of too much original interpretation, hence a more cautious approach, leaving translated original texts to speak for themselves. One of my problems is that I don't trust some of the interpretations I found in published sources! I also think that as this section grows into more of an overview, a detailed account of Vrihannala won't be necessary. I will give my thoughts on your other questions soon; gotta run! ntennis 02:41, 16 August 2006 (UTC)


I really think it should be mentioned that the Manu smriti is a marginal book at best, most Hindus are not even aware of its contents. The book was espoused by the British as embodying Hinduism, which is as far from the truth as possible. Even if this argument is turned down, the Smriti itself has been cast in several interpretation by various holy men and people like Dayanand Saraswati have tried and portrayed it in good light. I'm not trying to argue that we must look at only the good, but am expounding that the scripture in itself is open to varied interpretations. Mainstream hinduism has always been based on life as described in the vedas and upanishads, the Manusmriti cannot be categorized as either. I think a fact as important as this ought to be mentioned. I'm new to wikipedia and as must be apparent already, am unfamiliar with protocol. Any offence is deeply regretted. Am I required to present anything as proof for the entry? 22:32, 27 August 2006 (UTC) Jayant

Thanks for your thoughts. Your contributions are welcome! Why not sign up so you can keep track of your contributions, and get a user page. It's free and very quick to do. You can read Wikipedia's policies and guidelines by clicking on the blue link. The three most important principles are that contributions should be verifiable, have a neutral point of view (NPOV) and not be original research. In reference to your suggestion above, this means that it's best to quote a notable authority such as a scholar of Hinduism, and cite the source. It would be really useful to have a neutral independent scholar's assessment of the relative significance of various texts such as the Manu Smriti. Your view of the Manusmriti as "a marginal book at best" does seem to contradict other accounts, such as the Dharmaśāstra article which defines the Manusmriti as a "principal text" of the Dharmaśāstra. ntennis 04:52, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Jayant. I do not know what research on Hinduism says, but what I do know is that I have never referenced the Manu smriti, nor have I ever heard of anyone referencing it in my life. We regard the Vedas/Upanishads/Brahmasutras and the Bhagavad Gita as important texts, but not the Manu smriti. No priest I know of has even mentioned the Manu smriti. While I knew that something called the Manu smriti existed, it meant nothing to me till I read about it on the internet. Like Jayant says, most people are not even aware of what the Manu smriti says. That in itself is not surprising, because a smriti, by definition, is only meant for the age it was composed in, and the people who composed it. While it may have meant something around the time it was composed, no one lives by the Manu smriti today. Of course, I am more than willing to reconsider if research on Hinduism tells me what I believe in. (Sorry, couldn't resist that.) Saileshganesh 02:45, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
While many people do not know of Manu Smriti, many of the diktats believed by "Hindus" are from that book. But we need more data to show which ones exactly. Also note I use the term "Hindus" within quotes because as any person looking beyond facades one should- Hinduism and Hindus are too many different things. In that sense it is better to talk of all opposing viewpoints to remain neutral. Adding a clear commentary that there are opposing views also helps clarify.RajibAditya (talk) 07:44, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

Different third gender types[edit]

A recent anonymous contributor made several additions. I moved this one here for now, as it looks as if it contains interesting information. However, it's unsourced, and I am not sure that the phrase "third-gender men" is a very helpful, as a third gender person is - by definition - not a man. I'm also quite sure that several ancient Hindu texts do not refer to "homosexuals", although they undoubtedly refer to people drawn to particular acts that a modern reader would perceive as homosexual. Can anyone provide sources for these claims?

Several Hindu texts list the various types of third-gender men, including Sabda-Kalpa-Druma, Narada-smriti, Sushruta-samhita, Smriti-ratnavali and Kamatantra. In these lists, up to twenty different types of men who are impotent with women are described and include intersexed hermaphrodites, men who behave like women, homosexuals, castrated men, men that are shy or impotent with women, sterile, unable to have an erection, and so on.

Thanks, ntennis 05:26, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Please watch this article[edit]

I haven't been watching the article but I urge interested wikipedians to do so. It is consistently changed by an anonymous editor who disagrees with the published material on this subject. I also urge the anonymous editor to register with wikipedia and engage in dialog and collaboration. ntennis 00:28, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Important Hindu text Arthashastrha criminalized homosexuality[edit]

Please note that an important Hindu/Indian book of laws written by Kautilya criminalized homosexuality. Refer to Arthashastra (4.13.236). Arthashastra imposes a fine for homosexual act. This certainly means that it was deemed a criminal act by ancient Hindus. This needs to be mentioned in the article.-- (talk) 18:17, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Mahabharata also condemned Homosexuality

Refer to the following verse:

13133051a ye tu mUDhA durAcArA viyonau maithune ratAH
13133051c puruSeSu suduSprajJAH klIbatvam upayAnti te

"Those foolish men of evil conduct who engage in all forms of intercourse, taking advantage of improper wombs (viyoni), and forcing themselves upon other men (pumsaka), are born again without their organs as neuters." (Mahabharata 13.145.52)

-- (talk) 18:27, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

This Mahabharatha verse is about rape. It even clearly uses the words "forcing themselves upon". You must read it in the context of the parva. (talk) 09:42, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

This should be split into two articles[edit]

Homosexuality and gender variance are two different things. The article is completely disjointed and enough material exists on both subjects to justify two articles. The topic of homosexuality is almost completely neglected. Some editors don't seem to be aware that homosexuality is not a gender variance, as in the offensive line "Homosexual and transgender Hindus commonly identify with and worship the various Hindu deities connected with gender diversity"--masculine homosexual men don't. The merged articles are not useful or practical: People interested in homosexuality and Hinduism should have a simple reference and not have to sift through all the extra stuff. Should we merge Car and Airplane into one article?! Wikipedia doesn't have space constraints, the topics only partially overlap, and there is significant information on both. Also note that ALL of the other Wikipedias have titles that translate to "Homosexuality and Hinduism". (talk) 06:33, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree. Frobu (talk) 10:30, 19 September 2012 (UTC)


Checked the 2013 edition of the book. The page numbers are dramatically different from 2003 edition, which is surprising. Page numbers hardly move by a few numbers in editions of a book. Sakhi-Bekhi was supposed to be on 51; but was on 134-135. The section was removed as it was a virtual copy paste from the book. I am removed a few copyvio. Page numbers do not correspond in any instance. --Redtigerxyz Talk 10:40, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

Primary sources[edit]

The article is based on primary sources at places. References include literal translations/the texts themselves of the Manu Smriti, the Kamasutra, Narada Smriti, Mahanirvana Tantra, Arthashastra; which do not have commentaries in them. We need to replace them with secondary references. The Hindu texts section is plagued by this problem. --Redtigerxyz Talk 10:12, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

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