Sunday, August 25, 2013

Divided by Three

The Germans have announced the official birth, that is to say, the bureaucratic approval, of a third gender, which is to be called intersex - a term used to describe people whose genetic variations confer both male and female physical attributes. So far, we are divided here in Spain between H and M, which isn't (as I thought when I complete a form in triplicate recently) 'Hembra' and 'Macho' but rather 'Hombre' and 'Mujer'. 'M', it turns out, is neither 'Masculine' nor 'Man' and you should be careful where you leave your cross. This may all be a plan to confuse us, but more likely it's just a quirk of the language. There are, at least, the two sexes or genders in Spain, which is enough to put the English off learning the language, since we pretty much manage with just the one, and that just on Saturday nights after a curry.
In German, the language is artfully divided between masculine, feminine and a third gender, which I'm told is neutral ('der', 'die' and 'das'). The Romans had the same thing going with Latin, and I was often beaten as a child for overlooking this useful fact, and it will not surprise me to learn that, despite Putin's best intentions, the Russians have a trinity of sexes as well. No doubt some local expert in tourism can confirm this for me.
The new third sex of the Germans is the official recognition of those people who, at the moment of their birth, having looked anxiously down their little bodies and not having much liked what they found there. They are born of a sex, yet they belong to another. Thus, now in Germany, there are three sexes. That is not such extreme news: Mojacar during its bohemian golden years had at least seven.
Now Bradley Manning, the soldier who revealed all of the military secrets of the Pentagon, has announced through his lawyer that he would like to change his name to Chelsey, in the unfounded hope that he will receive hormone replacement therapy during his lengthy stay at the Guantanamo prison to help him with the repeated sex on offer there. One shouldn't joke.
Curiously, despite their known freedom in these matters, the Spanish have said that there is no plan to follow the Germans into the vagaries of a third gender. The Church probably have a poor opinion on the subject as well.
Interestingly enough, there is a small group of saints who could represent this new collective. Two very accepted by the gay community are St. Sergius and St. Bacchus - for historical reasons that we won't go into here - and many times gay marriages take place under the protection of these two. Another is San Sebastian. Another still, celebrated by the Catholic gays, and it might be better to sit down to read this, is San Agustín de Hipona, in English, Saint Augustine of Hippo: bishop, doctor and the Patron Saint of Mojácar.
For lesbians, things are more difficult. I thought I had found an appropriate one when I happened upon 'lesbians from Santo Domingo' in the Google, but it turned out to be an advertisement by some followers of Sappho living in the Dominican Republic. Nevertheless, further research eventually produced Saint Brigit for the girls...  
All very interesting, but this isn't about homosexuality, but the trauma of being caught in the wrong body. Perhaps Saint Wilgefortis, known in Spanish as La Santa Liberada, is the most suitable: a woman who grew a full black beard so as not to marry a Sicilian. It is possible that she merely needed the same therapy as Chelsea Manning, but to keep everything simple, they crucified her instead. 
But, no doubt, Spain is right. Otherwise they would be obliged to fill the calendar with saints who suffered not only from their faith but also from their other more carnal 'rare feelings'. The chaos of still more festive days in the calender would be unimaginable since each fiesta  lasts anything up to a week, and frankly, there are no available dates left...

1 comment:

Perry said...

The third gender is alive & thriving in Thailand. A friend of a friend made an honest mistake some years ago & has yet to recover from the experience. His face turns very pale, any occasion he is reminded.