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Homosexuality in Hinduism – always been there

Being queer in today is defined as sexual and/or gender identities other than straight and cisgender. Hindu mythology has often made references to queerness and has questioned the masculinity or femininity of a person.

Many gender variances of deities have been found in Hindu Mythology which are represented as both male and female at different times and in many different incarnations like ARDHANARISHVARA which was created by the merging of lord Shiva and his wife Parvati whose half right body was male while the other half was a female body.

The meaning of Ardhanarishvara means ‘’the lord whose half is a woman’’

In the Bhagvata Purana, Vishnu takes the form of the enchantress Mohini in order to trick the demons into giving up Amrita, the elixir of life.

Later Shiva falls in love with Mohini and spills his semen on the rocks which turn to gold. Stories in which Shiva knows of Mohini’s true nature have been interpreted to suggest the fluidity of gender.

The Union of Lord Shiva and Mohini, Vishnu's only female avatar.
Shiva and Mohini

Changes of sex and cross-dressing also occus in epics about non divine figures, like Shikhandi who was originally born female to Drupada, the king of Panchala.

There have even been many deities that have been considered patrons of the third sex. Bahachara Mata, is the patron goddess of the Hijra, and has been shown ridding a rooster, carrying a sword, trident and a book. Samba the son of Kirishna has also been known as a patron of Eunuchs – dressing in women’s clothes to mock and trick people.

Homosexuality or bisexuality has also been shown among the gods. Agni- the god of fire, wealth and creative energy has had same sex encounters. Although married to Svaha, Agni is also shown being part of a same-sex relationship with Soma, the god of the moon.

Agni - Wikipedia

Mitra and Varuna, the gods of great intimacy have been often mentioned together in Vedic literature.

Although Hindu traditional literary sources have said little about homosexuality and gender directly, they have been hidden in meaning. In all Homosexuality and different genders have always been there in Hindu culture.

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