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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.
In recent years, some Western societies have begun to recognize genderqueer or non-binary identities.
In Africa, a woman can be recognized as a “female husband” who enjoys all of the privileges of men and is recognized as such, but whose femaleness, while not openly acknowledged, is not forgotten either.
The hijras, of India, are one of the most recognized and socially accepted groups of third genders.
The concept is most likely to be embraced in the modern LGBT or queer subcultures, or in ethnic minority cultures that exist within larger Western communities such as the North American Indigenous cultures that have roles for Two Spirit people.
While mainstream western scholars, notably anthropologists who have tried to write about Native American and South Asian "gender variant" people, have often sought to understand the term "third gender" solely in the language of the modern LGBT community, other scholars especially Indigenous scholars, stress that their lack of cultural understanding and context has led to widespread misrepresentation of third gender people.
This may be a result of the notion of reincarnation, which reduces not only gender categorization but also sex and species, allowing for more fluid and mutable categorization.