Genderqueer in Meenakshi Temple, Madurai. © Srishti Madurai.

Madurai inspite of its historical significance has a vast queer significance which can be seen in the sculptures of Meenakshi Amman temple which traces back to more than thousand years.

The most important sculpture we have seen is the sculptures depicting the same sex love, queer love and homosexual activity between two men and two women.  Such kinds of depictions were previously found in the Khajuraho temple. But such depictions, found in Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple is quite important to consider.

There is a well less known transsexual people known as Neutrois, within the Transgendered community, who will change their body in such a way that they cannot be identified as male or female physically. 

The awareness about the existence of Neutrois is even scare within the psychiatric community itself. But what made us more exciting is the depiction of Neutrois theme in Kala Samhara deity. The deity, typically with a male like body, and represented with lack of any sexual organ typically represents a MTN (Male to Neutrois) person.

Arjuni with mustache and breast at Meenakshi Temple


Another interesting sculpture we had found is with mustache, but with breasts. Such kind of gender variant forms can be seen in the case of Intersex people, who have biologically both male and female traits. Such a contradictory gender role represented in Aayirankaal mandapam is quite exciting. Even people today show aversion to the people having the contradictory gender roles, but the sculptures had depicted that several years ago.

Several Narthagi sculptures are depicted in the temple and most of the Narthagi’s belong to the Transwomen community.

Another interesting depiction is on Autosexuality. Autosexuals are characterized by the lack of interest in sex with other people, but they will only engage in sexual activities such as masturbation and Autofellatio. The lion sculptured in the temple depicts the Autofellatio activity.

The Sanishwara deity which is the well known Transgendered deity can be seen in the temple. It is a excellent example of gender variance. 


The Ardanarishwara represents the Intersex condition known as Gynandromorphism and this statue is the depiction of the both male and female elements in a clear way.
Another one deity is the Shankara Narayana which is Shiva and Vishnu combined. The combination of both male elements is quite interesting feature of this deity.

Several other deities such as Sri Pitchandavar, Veerabathra whom belong to the third Gendered community is represented here.

The Arjuna statue, the person with the characteristic Trigendered gender can be seen there. Arjuna as a male is Arjuna, as a female Arjuna is Arjuni and as a third gendered person, Arjuna is Brihanalla. Thus the Arjuna serves as a best example for the Trigender system of Genderqueer.


Meenakshi amman herself represents the Genderqueer aspect. The queerness of Meenakshi amman, lies in her three breasted condition. She was born in the putra kameshwari yaga, and she was raised as a male. It could be the representation for the Genderqueer butch or Transmen imagery. The deity could be attributed as Genderqueer butch, because it had the combination of both male and female elements which makes us to hard to determine whether the deity is male or female, but at the same time, showing a predominant masculine/.butch expression.Moreover according to some critics,the metaphor of three breasts, represents the queer explanation of two breasts and one phallus, thus giving a Transwomen imagery to the Meenakshi amman deity. there are many evidence on genderqueer and Same-sex love in Meenakshi temple was destroyed by Malik-kafur and Sultanates. Scenarios changed during 1311, when Alauddin Khilji of Khilji dynasty sent his general Malik Kafur on an expedition to the kingdoms of the south which led to the capture of Warangal, the overthrow of the Hoysala Empire south of the Krishna River, and the occupation of Madurai in the extreme south. Malik Kafur himself a castrated male he showed his agony and depression by removing the reproductive organs of the statue in Meenakshi temple. As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ordered his followers to destroy the temple of Allat of Pagan cult which supported the gender diversity and same sex love in Mecca.  



'Purusha Mirugham'- a mythological seer-beast whose milk was considered holy. A staunch Shiva devotee this seer-beast's milk was needed for Yudhishtra to fulfill his Rajasuya Yagna in one of the folk versions of Mahabharatha tale. So the Gender-variants were so well woven into the mythological narratives of India that we actually should never feel any distance with them as even the dominant genders today are also simply one of the various gender variants - just somehow favored in evolution for the time being.



The point here is that the queer nature is part of the natural law of God; it should be accepted for what it is, no more and no less. 

Hindus are generally conservative but it seems to me that in ancient India, they even celebrated sexuality & Gender diversity as an enjoyable part of procreation, where priests were invited for ceremonies in their home to mark the beginning of the process and emergence of queer is not serving the purpose of a heretic order, but one which is required by the straight community itself. It serves two purposes:- construction of "otherness" and a way of over-confirmation of being straight! Actually the desire of society is not the exclusion of queer, but inclusion at a distance!
Sri Meenakshi Devi with 3 breast