Tag Archives: eunuch

Transgender/ transvestite muslims!!!

Yes you read that title right! This is totally new to me so this post will probably be very short. I only became aware of it after reading chapter 6 of Shereen El Feki’s Sex and the Citadel (ISBN 9780099526384).

I assume the sexual imagery isn’t lost on you

I’m surprised, not so much by the fact that such people exist (because modern orthodox muslims just explain them away as sinners/ improper muslims) but by the fact they existed!

In other words, this post will NOT be about transsexual/ transvestite/ transgender muslims in modern times, but ones in olden times – even back to Muhammad’s days!

Mukhannathuwn

Plural of mukhannath. Literally means effeminate, ie. men whose behaviour and/ or dress was like women’s. The ahadiyth talk about them, and interestingly they weren’t as persecuted as modern muslims would (like to) think. Despite the hadiyth in which Muhammad curses effeminate men (and masculine women, to be sure), debate still goes on over whether he meant all such people or particular ones around him. In another hadiyth a man applying henna was dragged in front of him and he had him banished – but not killed because that man prayed. It should be noted, however, that this term also encompassed eunuchs, so early muslims didn’t really distinguish between men who were “feminised” by force and those “feminised” by choice. This is in common with much of the world’s thinking back then, the thought that castration “emasculates” you, permanently puts you outside the fold of maleness. However, muslim scholars in the past did distinguish between 2 types of mukhannath – innocent ones who are innately feminine and don’t try to profit from their “womanliness”, and those who sin by prostituting themselves.

Also, male homosexuals were NOT covered by this term because mukhannathuwn were assumed to be asexual, or “free of physical needs” and therefore guys women were safe around. Usually. Modern Arabs and Arabised peoples, according to El Feki, wrongly disregard that and assume they’re raging homosexuals. There was no exact Arabic equivalent of homosexuals; the closest was luwtiy, a 13th century word based on the story of Luwt (Lot), the guy sent to Sodom & Gomorrah to convince the men there to stop having sex with each other. However, modern attempts at equivalents do exist.

Unlike in early Christian history, there’s nothing to show early muslims became eunuchs by choice. As far as I know…

Obviously I couldn’t get pics of ancient mukhannathuwn

 

 

Gulāmiyyāt

Plural of gulāmiyyah. This word is a feminine form of gulām (young man or boy) and referred to women who dressed and behaved like men. Ironically, though some even went to lengths such as painting moustaches on their faces, hanging out in male-only events and taking on male names, they were decidedly heterosexual and made no attempt to hide their female shapes! They even painted their male lovers’ names on their faces! In fact, back in the Abbasid dynasty of 9th century Baghdad they were seen as hot. Al-Rashid, its most famous sultān, reportedly had up to 4000 gulāmiyyāt in his court. His son Al-Amin was known for liking boys, and his mother (worried about him not producing an heir) gave him gulāmiyyāt slaves – which he really took to. His favourite was a girl called ‘Arib. Also unlike modern days, they were NOT confused with lesbians as again there was no exact equivalent word for them – but there are many now.

Nowadays in the Arab region they’re called boyat and treated as Western-imported deviants trying to obliterate the God-sanctioned feminine norm, especially in Qatar. See what a conference in the Emirates had to say of them.

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Update: Indonesia has the warias, men who dress & see themselves as women. This custom predated Indonesian Islam by ages but still persists. Since Indonesia has the highest number of muslims in the world, most warias are muslim.

(sourced from http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/08/asia_pac_indonesia0s_waria/img/3.jpg)

More insights into misogyny, genitals and general gender relations

A partial continuation of my earlier post on misogynyBased mainly on Tom Hickman’s God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of The Penis, ISBN 9780224095532, and various articles from PsychoHistory

 

I’d always heard misogyny was based on hatred and/ or fear of women. I admit, though I never denied the existence or extent of misogyny, I was sceptical of the hatred part and outright didn’t believe the fear part. I’d never heard of a man who was genuinely afraid of women, I’d always thought it was only about power & wanting to keep it. However, upon reading Hickman’s book I’m just caught between…

 

    

    and…      

  

 

Throughout history men have displayed some WEIRD attitudes and beliefs, not just toward women and the vagina, but even toward their own dicks! No bloody wonder misogyny’s so rampant, and no wonder ignorance of female A&P (anatomy & physiology) went on so long!

 

First, some hilarious and crazy beliefs relating to the genitals (mostly male):

  • In ancient Assyria, it was law that if a woman got into a fight with a man and crushed one of his balls, she’d be punished by having a finger cut off! If she crushed both balls, the punishment was to have both her breasts ripped off
  • Ironically, while the Bible says that if a man’s balls are wounded or his ‘privy member’ removed he won’t go to heaven (Deuteronomy 23:1), Christian men throughout history have been castrating themselves for the sake of God. Examples include the 3rd-century theologian Origen of Alexandria, and a secret sect in 18th-century Russia called the Skoptsy*. In fact, self-castration seems to have originally been part of Christianity and the state of being a eunuch was something of a spiritual ideal, according to Kuelfer

* The Skoptsy are also known for their women cutting off their breasts for the same purpose: they believed sexual lust was a sin. 

  • During the Renaissance, women were afraid that stretching their legs too far or doing vigorous exercise would turn them into men. 
  • Also during the Renaissance, it was believed that all foetuses were originally supposed to be male. Any that were born female had failed to achieve masculine perfection; their bodies didn’t generate enough heat to “thrust” the genitals outward. That came from the ancient Greek physician Galen, who called female genitals mutilated but just guessed God must have had some purpose for that. 

Even now I still can’t work out what that purpose is…

  • In 1993, a woman in Beijing castrated her husband because a fortune teller told her his ‘inadequate’ penis was the cause of their relationship problems. She didn’t do it out of hate, she simply thought it would grow back bigger and better. 
  • In ancient Japan there was a legend of a demon who hid inside a woman’s vagina and bit off her husbands’ dicks. She asked a blacksmith for help so he built a metal penis that the demon broke its teeth on. To this day, that metal penis is remembered in the Shinto festival Kanamara Matsuri. 
  • According to his biographer James H. Jones, Alfred Kinsey (yes, that Kinsey) was well-known for whipping out his bits in front of his staff just because he was so proud of their size – dick and balls. He even used them for his anatomy lessons and demonstrated his personal masturbation techniques. 

I wonder if Granny needs to be shown where the glans is…

On a more serious note, it’s quite possible that misogyny in some instances is a reaction to mother-mediated abuse, similar to post-traumatic slave syndrome or post-traumatic stress disorder. PsychoHistory has a lot to say on the relative ubiquity of child abuse & incest and the somewhat-archetypal killer mother/goddess figure, especially during war. Ironically, while children grow up with negative emotions toward their mothers because of all the abuse (including being used as or sold off to be sex slaves), they still want their attention and approval, even to the extent of dying to defend her from make-believe enemies. Hence war and the concept of “motherland”. 

 

It’s fairly clear that throughout much of (Christian European?) history children were ignored/ abandoned by their fathers and hated by their mothers. Yes that’s right, hated. Women were made to feel their purpose was to just be daughters then wives and mothers and nothing else, and children were yet another encroachment on their energy reserves. Not to mention how few rights women had (ie. it’s likely the children were products of rape), as well as the belief in inherited sin, so children were effectively born to be punished. I’m not claiming that’s the be-all-and-end-all of misogyny, I’m just suggesting it’s a possible factor in some cases.

 

OK, I’m ending this post here. If I don’t I’ll go on for ages! Just a few more weird & funny facts to lighten the mood…

 

  • Throughout history men have feared (yes, feared) women with high sex drives, as if their vulvas were insatiable beasts that would literally eat them alive! Women’s bodies were magical & mysterious enough with periods and pregnancy and whatnot;  why have such strong appetites too? In Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley, Mellors described sleeping with his wife as like having a bird’s beak ripping at him! 
  • Contrary to what people may think, boys can have erections before they’re even born! It happens so often, in fact, that back when he was an obstetrician the sexologist William Masters set himself the challenge of cutting the umbilical cord before the erections happened! 

Why are you telling people I used to be an obstetrician?

  • Ancient Chinese emperors were required to have 121 women in their harems (1 empress, 3 senior consorts, 9 wives, 27 concubines & 81 slaves) – and have sex with all of them over a course of 15 nights! And yes, there was a secretary keeping count! Which meant they had to have damn good self-restraint with climaxing! Why 121? Because they believed it had magic properties and were obsessed with numerical & calendrical order, which meant there was a specific order to sleep with them in: 

Night 1 – empress

Night 2 – all 3 senior consorts

Night 3 – all 9 wives

Night 4 – 9 of the 27 concubines

Night 5 – another 9 concubines

Night 6 – the last 9 concubines

Night 7 – 9 of the 81 slaves

Night 8 – another 9 slaves

Night 9 – another 9 slaves

Night 10 – another 9 slaves

Night 11 – another 9 slaves

Night 12 – another 9 slaves

Night 13 – another 9 slaves

Night 14 – another 9 slaves

Night 15 – the last 9 slaves

(note: The higher-ranking women would be serviced nearer the full moon, when his yang and their yin were strongest)

 

WTF?!?