Tag Archives: transsexual

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!


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




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.


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)

Human sexualities

 For those who don’t know, a sexuality is a state of sexual attraction. It can also be called sexual preference, sexual expression or sexual orientation. It is not the same thing as sex or gender. Sex refers to what one is biologically; male or female (plus a barely-known 3rd category called intersexual). Gender refers to roles that society, families and peers influence people to adopt (or reject), which starts happening at a very early age. Sexuality, on the other hand, refers to one’s likes/ sexual urges.

Most people in the West have been raised in a paradigm that says one’s sexuality (whatever it is) is genetically determined and therefore immutable. Despite the search for the “gay gene” or any genes that are related to sexuality, none have been found. See NARTH for further reading.

Dean Hamer, American geneticist who tried (and failed) to find

a definitive biological origin for sexuality.

Though he admitted his failure, nowadays the gay lobby claims he succeeded!

Anyway, here they are:

heterosexual: also known as straight, hetero or het. Its prefix hetero- is from Greek heteros and means other/ another. This is when one has sexual attractions for someone of the opposite sex (ie. female liking male, male liking female). This is and always has been the norm for humans; we wouldn’t have made it to 6.8 billion without it!


homosexual: also called homo, gay* or bent. Its prefix homo- also comes from Greek, homos, and means same. This is when one has sexual attractions for someone of the same sex (ie. female liking female, male liking male). However, in common usage it tends to allude just to the male variety.

* Note: until the 1940s gay meant happy, merry, joyful. This meaning hasn’t completely died out.


lesbian: specifically female homosexuality. As far as I know there’s no male-only equivalent.


bisexual: also called bi, ambisexual and ambisextrous. This prefix is from Latin – bini which means double or twice, while ambi- (Latin) means both. This refers to when one has sexual attractions for both sexes, and is often seen as a kind of crossroad/ state of “confusion” between gay & straight.


transsexual: more of a sexual/gender identity than a sexuality. Also called tranny, transie, transgender, MTF (male-to-female), FTM (female-to-male), transman (FTM) and transwoman (MTF). The prefix trans is Latin and means across, beyond or through. This means someone who either has been surgically altered to have the features of the opposite sex or wants to be, often because of a belief of having been “born in the wrong body”.

Note that surgery only affects physical appearance, it can’t affect one’s sex (because sex is genetically fixed) and doesn’t necessarily affect sexuality. MTFs can like either women or men (or both), as can FTMs.


(Note: intersexual is not synonymous with transsexual. An intersexual is someone whose natural phenotype [physical features] can’t be pinpointed as specifically male or female. This can be because of intrauterine [in the womb] hormonal imbalances or unusual chromosome combinations that cause genetic females to exhibit male gentials – or vice versa. This is to do with biology and therefore doesn’t affect sexual attraction. Also be aware that intersexuals are not the same thing as hermaphrodites, though they used to be. Hermaphrodites are organisms [most likely not humans] whose genitals work just like those of males and females. This is completely normal in many invertebrates)


pansexual: means someone whose sexual attractions aren’t limited to any biological sex or gender identity (ie. includes intersexuals, transsexuals and everyone else). This means they’re more inclusive than even bisexuals. The prefix pan- is Greek and means all or every (as does the Latin omnis). Synonyms include gender-blind and omnisexual.


LGBT: an acronym for lesbian, gay, bi and transsexuals. It’s effectively a catch-all term to mean pretty much anyone who’s not straight.


Here are some sexualities that are usually ignored or not known about:


asexual: someone who has no sexual desires. This is not the same as being celibate or virgin. Celibacy is when someone chooses to abstain from sex for whatever reason, but this doesn’t mean they stop feeling sexual desires. A virgin is someone who’s never had sex (yet).


demisexual: a person who only gains sexual attraction to someone they have strong emotional attachments with. Part of the grey-A, which describes a range of states between sexual & asexual. Sounds like the perfect romantic, but in practice it doesn’t quite work like that because sexuals often initially see them as ‘just friends’ and thus may not see them as potential partners.


antisexual: a person who believes sexual activity or sexuality is wrong. This is pretty much the same as celibacy. Such people may still have sexual impulses but just ignore them. Funnily enough, it is possible for antisexuals to form romantic relationships – they just don’t include intercourse.


Alfred Kinsey himself.

Look how he’s eyeing up that woman!

Remember in About me when I called myself Kinsey 0 heterosexual? This refers to the Kinsey scale (aka. heterosexual-homosexual rating scale), a method of assessing one’s sexuality named after Alfred Charles Kinsey. This scale goes from 0 to 6 (plus an 8th category called X):


0 = completely straight

1 = predominantly straight

2 = somewhat more straight than gay

3 = slap-bang in the middle, ideal bisexual

4 = somewhat more gay than straight

5 = predominantly gay

6 = completely gay

X = asexual


As you’ve seen, there are many more sexual preferences and identities than are accounted for on this scale. Mind you, this is only 1 of over 200 sexuality rating scales. See Wikipedia for more info.


So there you have it, sexualities. Note that due to its behavioural/ psychological nature sexuality is unfixed and can be changed, though often with considerable effort. In fact, NARTH specialises in helping gays become straight if they so choose, and advocates recognition of the mutability of sexuality (which the American gay lobby wishes to deny). To some this sounds ludicrous, or even homophobic, but it’s a truth that’s being very actively suppressed.


(Update: as I wrote this post back when I was Muslim, I revoke this last part about NARTH. I wasn’t aware of the harm gay conversion therapies inflict, not to mention the moralistic/ condescending Christian undertones. Of course people can in theory choose to change their sexuality, but the issue is why they want to change. That still works on the underlying assumption that some sexualities are “wrong”. Regardless of the nature-nurture debate around sexuality, it’s wrong for anyone to say any of them are wrong. As long as the attraction/ activity is between mutually consenting adults and no physical/ mental harm is caused, it’s all good.)