Homosexuality Raises Ethical and Practical Questions – Part III

Concluding my series on the ethical and practical challenges ISKCON faces in dealing with homosexuality, I would like to touch on the subject of sex change operations.

Last year the story of Tim Petras made headlines – as the youngest person ever to have a sex change operation. Tim is now Kim Petras (picture above), at only 16 years of age! The operation was done in Germany and the procedure started when he was 12.

In Thailand alone, 30 thousand men a year seek sex change operations. In Iran, the fundamentalist regime has encouraged sex change operations as a means to combat homosexuality (considered a serious crime in Iran). The government even sponsors the operations in some cases.

So, what happens if Kim joins the Hare Krishna Movement? Would she stay in the brahmacarini ashram? Could someone like her stay there before the full sex-change procedure is complete (it takes 2-5 years)? If she later marries a male devotee, will she have the right to a full agni-hotra ceremony?

If a woman has a sex change operation (much rarer than the man to woman changes), could he (ex-she) then be allowed to take sannyasa later in life? (If yes, why can’t women take sannyasa without a sex change operation?)

Has it already happened? It’s not inconceivable that we have already had such a marriage between a man and a woman who used to be a man in the Movement.

Even Ayatollah Khomeini discussed these issues of homosexuality, transsexuality, etc. We need clear guidelines for our Society too. Guidelines that, to use Srila Hridayananda das Goswami Acharyadeva’s words, “best preserve our sacred principles: both our moral rigor as well as our deep compassion.”



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18 responses to “Homosexuality Raises Ethical and Practical Questions – Part III

  1. Vladimir

    Keep it simple. Follow Prabhupada. Homosexuality is Wrong. So is sex change. It is not Philosophical. It doesn’t require much intelligence. Just realize God made man and woman for each other. People are not born homosexual, they are conditioned that way. It is a disease that must be cured through Krsna Consciousness. If Prabhupada were here maybe you would be clear, instead you are being very much a rascal. We must have REAL Compassion. Real compassion is to be for the Truth whether socially acceptable or not. People need to change. The Truth cannot be watered down or changed. What is wrong is wrong, what is right is right and people need to be taught Absolute Truth. Keep it Simple, Keep it Pure, Keep it True. Than there will be quality. Compassionate preaching means to bring the Truth to the People and the people to the truth. To compromise the truth by being open to homosexuality and sex change and God knows what else is not compassion, it is false compassion.

  2. This has already happened, there was one devotee who used to have a male body who then changed it to a female body. Ex-he/she came to the temple and spend the night at a house of a friend of mine. That friend, a girl, was very very shocked to find out later that a ex-male was staying at her house.

  3. Hare Krsna! Srila Prabhupada has indeed already addressed the issue of sex-change (transsexuality) and approved of it for one of his disciples (Gopinatha dasi, in 1975). He told her to choose one sex or the other and then “you may enter our temple anytime you like.”

    In terms of homosexual marriage, Srila Prabhupada generally frowned upon it but also once told his disciple Upendra dasa that, if necessary, he should “just find a nice boy then, and settle down!”

    Srila Prabhupada was not the fanatical tyrant that some devotees make him out to be. Rather, he loved his gay and transgender disciples very much and was always willing to help accommodate them in Krsna consciousness. Pure devotees are always full of compassion for the fallen souls.

  4. Malati Manjari

    There have been already a few sex changes in our movement that I am aware of, what to speak of the ones I don’t know about. So it is a reality and it would be foolish to deny it. I know two of these (sincere) devotees quite well. One used to be a girl and suffered terribly because she/he just felt she/he was in the wrong body. Obviously that person had a male subtle body. When he started transitioning all the devotees in his temple and even his own spiritual master rejected and despised him. The only service he was allowed to do was clean toilets. He was suffering so much that he was about to take his life.

    After several painful surgeries he completed the transition and was lucky to find another merciful and liberal guru who accepted him for who he was and gave him shelter and a new name. Now he is blissfully engaged in devotional service and you would never guess that he used to be a girl.

    Now sannyasis ask him to sit in with women in the room when they have darshan, and he can finally be in kirtan with all the men and enjoy the purusha bhava. It is funny how completely different people now relate to him – especially those who have no clue about his past. So we don’t really know what such people have to go through and we shouldn’t make it harder for them. If they don’t want to be despised as homosexuals in our movement and if they feel that they are in the wrong body, then for some people it may be the best option to change body in this life instead of having to wait for the next one.

    • Dattatreya dasa

      I would like to express my sincere appreciation of Malati Manjari’s compassionate statement.

      In Bg. 5.18, Krishna states, “The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater.” I would add to that list women, including lesbians and trans women.

      I would suggest that progress in Krishna consciousness entails deconstructing those opacities within one’s consciousness that stand between oneself and sama-darsanam (equal vision).

      Best wishes from your servant, Dattatreya dasa

  5. Transsexuality or changing sexes is not a viable option for homosexuals. Transgender identity and homosexual orientation are two entirely different things. Whereas transgenders feel painfully uncomfortable with their birth gender, homosexuals are completely at ease and prefer it. Like sexual orientation, a person’s gender identity is inborn and cannot be changed. Thus, a gay man could not tolerate living as a female and vice versa for lesbians. To suggest they do so simply to gain acceptance in our movement is unreasonable. Besides, there are plenty of temples, gurus and devotees who love and accept gay people just as God created them!

  6. Gita dasi

    For several objections which may be raised against a Hare Krsna devotee undergoing sex change, let’s look at the quotes from Srila Prabhupada’s books, which are to be the law books for the next 10,000 years.

    Srimad Bhag. 11.1.13-15 states:

    krīḍantas tān upavrajya

    kumārā yadu-nandanāḥ

    upasańgṛhya papracchur

    avinītā vinīta-vat

    te veṣayitvā strī-veṣaiḥ

    sāmbaḿ jāmbavatī-sutam

    eṣā pṛcchati vo viprā

    antarvatny asitekṣaṇā

    praṣṭuḿ vilajjatī sākṣāt


    prasoṣyantī putra-kāmā

    kiḿ svit sañjanayiṣyati

    ‘To that holy place, the young boys of the Yadu dynasty had brought Sāmba, son of Jāmbavatī, dressed in woman’s garb. Playfully approaching the great sages gathered there, the boys grabbed hold of the sages’ feet and impudently asked them with feigned humility, “O learned brāhmaṇas, this black-eyed pregnant woman has something to ask you. She is too embarrassed to inquire for herself. She is just about to give birth and is very desirous of having a son. Since all of you are great sages with infallible vision, please tell us whether her child will be a boy or a girl.”


    Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī has made the following comment: “The impudent behavior of the young Yadus toward the sages headed by Nārada, who were all brāhmaṇas and devotees of the Lord, was a display of deviation from the path of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, although the prākṛta-sahajiyās think of themselves as intimate associates of Kṛṣṇa, the supremely merciful Lord’s determination is perfectly correct in working to finish such false devotees. Such impostors actually never accept real service to Kṛṣṇa. The yadu-kumāras’ deception is termed ‘seemingly humble,’ meaning that in fact they were anything but humble. Therefore, the ridiculing of Vaiṣṇavas by the Lord’s family resulted in a great offense against the devotees of the Lord.”

    A similar incident occurred during the pastimes of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu when His own mother offended Śrī Advaita Ācārya. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally rectified this offense against a great Vaiṣṇava, and thus the Lord showed His magnanimity. Lord Kṛṣṇa’s pastime of destroying the Yadu dynasty is also a demonstration of His mercy to His devotees.

    Believing the brāhmaṇas, Vaiṣṇavas and ṛṣis to be foolishly lacking knowledge in material affairs of sense gratification, the yadu-kumāras dressed Sāmba, the son of Jāmbavatī, as a woman and tried to mock the saintly assembly. Lord Kṛṣṇa wanted to teach that such an offense committed against great devotees by His associate Sāmba would be the cause of the Yadu dynasty’s destruction, all as part of His līlā.

    In modern times such misbehavior has also manifested itself within the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava community. Unauthorized persons have initiated the process of deceitfully bestowing a woman’s dress on their followers. This process is to be counted as a variety of aparādha, or offense against Kṛṣṇa. Such an attempt to cheapen and ridicule devotional service to Kṛṣṇa is certainly caused by envy toward the real Vaiṣṇavas, who are faithfully engaged in devotional service according to the rules and regulations of the Vedic literature. Thus Rūpa Gosvāmī has said:


    pañcarātra-vidhiḿ vinā

    aikāntikī harer bhaktir

    utpātāyaiva kalpate

    [BRS 1.2.101]

    “If one wants to demonstrate his great devotion to the Supreme Lord but his process of devotional service violates the standard rules of revealed scriptures such as śruti, smṛti, Purāṇas and Nārada-pañcarātra, then his alleged love of Godhead will simply disturb society by misleading people from the auspicious path of spiritual advancement.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.101) The taking of a woman’s clothing by a man in kṛṣṇa-līlā was intended to point out this fact. Such an act amounts to cheating and ridicule of the devotees of Kṛṣṇa. Sāmba is a personal associate of the Lord, but acting as a harbinger of the future misfortune to be created in Kali-yuga by bogus followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Sāmba displayed this didactic pastime to help the living entities be blessed on the correct path of devotional service.

    The boys said to the sages, “O ṛṣis, O brāhmaṇas, O Nārada and other great personalities, can you tell us whether it will be a son or a daughter that will be born from this pregnant woman’s womb?” By addressing pure Vaiṣṇavas in this way, they anticipated the fraudulent sampradāyas of the modern age in their practice of sakhī-bheka, or dressing men as female associates of the gopīs. This unauthorized activity constitutes contempt and mockery of the pure devotees of the Lord.

    Many false yogīs, imagining they are distributing first-class devotion on the liberated platform, attempt to award the status of “pure devotee” to candidates totally ignorant of the transcendental tastes of madhura-rati, or the Lord’s conjugal love in the spiritual world. Even though they know that the general populace is unfit to imitate the liberated associates of the Lord, they artificially decorate ordinary persons with the ornaments of spiritual perfection, such as tears, a melted heart, and the standing on end of the bodily hairs. Thus these bogus yogīs introduce a process that misleads the world. Because Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu understood that the great misfortune caused by such false yogīs, or kuyogīs, was impossible to forestall in the Kali-yuga, He infected them with insane desires for material objects of lust so that ordinary persons can easily identify such false yogīs as deviated from the path of pure devotional service.

    The mockery of the brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas by the young boys of the Yadu dynasty who dressed Sāmba in woman’s garb, and the resultant destruction of the Yadu dynasty, conclusively demonstrate the uselessness of the sahajiyā-sampradāyas.

    Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has confirmed that the lack of humility shown by the sons of the Yadu dynasty was an arrangement by the Lord Himself. In other words, the members of the Yadu dynasty are ultimately associates of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and to facilitate the instructive pastimes of the Lord they acted in apparently unethical ways.’

    In Vedic times were the “eunuchs” actually castrated – this practice has been occuring in the Indian subcontinent for hundreds of years – or is this the result of Mohammadan influence? There is some doubt over this (see also The Invisibles; A Tale of the Eunuchs of India by Zia Jaffrey 1996 pg. 35-36, 146-148), as Bhagavad-gita 17.5-6 states

    asastra-vihitam ghoram
    tapyante ye tapo janah

    karsayantah sarira-stham
    bhuta-gramam acetasah
    mam caivantah sarira-stham
    tan viddhy asura-niscayan

    Those who undergo severe austerities and penances not recommended in the scriptures, performing them out of pride, egoism, lust and attachment, who are impelled by passion and who torture their bodily organs as well as the Supersoul dwelling within are to be known as demons.

    Srila Prabhupada goes on to say that their acts are against the scriptural injunctions and are not beneficial for the people in general. Practically speaking, it is obvious that this is a case of false ego, and in many cases the lust and attachment for material enjoyment are quite clearly present as well. Perhaps shame in this case instead of pride?

    • What has this got to do with gender change? It is very misleading. The offense was not change of gender, but mocking the vaisnavas and another issue mentioned is also sahajiyaism- believing that dressing as a gopi and imitating them externally qualifies one to be one. This has nothing whatsoever to do with gender change and implying that it is offensive, because it was in this history happened to accompany an offensive attitude is misleading- and offensive to sincere vaisnavas who change their gender for reasons of being uncomfortable in the body they are in.

  7. Gita dasi

    I’ve written this refutation from the slant of a person who was raised as a male, not addressing the devotees who were raised female, and have other transgender issues. Sorry about that. Giridari prabhu has brought up some good questions, and I’ve raised a few more myself. The point is that a religious movement (especially one as dedicated to crushing impersonalism as we claim to be) is composed of persons. No two are the same. We have widely varying degrees of sincerity, and different histories (for example, say a trangendered devotee had a criminal record of comitting sexual abuse). Just as a judge and jury always refer to the lawbooks to make their decisions, but also hear about the backgound of the cases and listen to become aquainted with the parties involved, similarly each devotee must be taken on a case by case basis. In this world of dualities, things are never black and white, what-to-speak of the transcendental realm (which we’ll have to start getting used to) full of unlimited variagatedness.

    Are the sakhī-bhekas, born transgendered (tritiya-prakriti) or are they males? Bhaktisidanta Saraswati Thakur calls them men. For a recent festival (Janmastami or Radhastami) I attended, one of the performing acts was a Hindu crossdresser who danced and teased the audience as he/she tried to dance individually with each of us – even a sannyasi. This was, in my humble opinion, not appropriate. For a good amount of us, this exaggerated femininity comes naturally. But I especially make it a point to be serious when in the association of vaisnavas, and to fence myself in on all sides with proper siddhanta. I think the pastime of Samba in SB and the commentary which follows, stand as a warning not only for transgendered people, but for anyone who would take Krsna Consciousness cheaply. I’ve heard many straight, western devotees say that they’ve actually seen Krsna, although they somehow manage to return to eating and sleeping after this initial “darsan”…

    The purport to the forementioned BG verse says, “The word acetasah is significant in this connection–persons of normal mental condition must obey the scriptural injunctions.” The DSM-IV, which is the psychiatric guide for mental and personality disorders classifies persons who feel a great need to change their sex as having “Gender Identity Disphoria”, a mental disorder for which bodily adjustment is often the only treatment. In previous yugas, the demons and devotees lived on separate planets. Today they live in the same body. I can only hope, that as Mahaprabhu came not to kill the demons, but to make us pure devotees, that other devotees might have such a compassionate attitude as well. Humans are social beings. We want affection and to belong. As I was laughed at in ISKCON, and my requests for help in tdealing with this weren’t answered, I finally tried instead to fit in with non-devotees in a similar predicament. I pray that as transcendental knowledge of the self flourishes side by side with practical and cultural parts of Vedic culture (e.g. three genders) which have been temporarily covered by western dualism, one day we’ll be comfortable enough being ourselves that we won’t feel the need for surgeries. Until that time we will need support from wherever we can find it.

    A trangendered devotee who’s not undergone all parts of the surgeries would most likely be just as apprehensive about, say, showering with the gender-normative females as they would be about her. This means again, c-o-m-m-u-n-i-c-a-t-i-o-n. While I was transitioning in the temple, I preferred to use an extra bathroom which no one used. The last time I was at a festival with tons of naked matajis crowding in the bathroom, I just asked a friend if I could use her private bathroom in the morning. In such a situation you must think with Krsna in the center, not the feelings of the gender-normative devotees to the exclusion of the transgendered devotee, nor vice versa.

    • “I think the pastime of Samba in SB and the commentary which follows, stand as a warning not only for transgendered people, but for anyone who would take Krsna Consciousness cheaply.” Its a warning against making fun of and mocking vaisnavas. You have lost the point of the story, taking an anxilliary detail as the essence. Sakhi bhedas are not authorised because they believe their cross-dressing qualifies them as gopis, which is sahajiyaism- mistaking material emotions for spiritual ones. Sakhi bedhas take Krsna consciousness cheaply. Since devotees who change gender should not be lumped in with them.

  8. Gita dasi

    I think my reference to a criminal court isn’t good. If anything, then more like a civil court. No one should have to defend themselves like they were a criminal, just for being different.

  9. Kevin Bello

    As a transgendered person who is desiring with utter failure to become a pure devotee under the blessed Chaitanya Tree of His Dearmost Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, I have to say that this is a very touchy subject.

    Gita dasi, the quotes that you have cited from the Holy Writ are about prakrta-sahajiya and the belief of coming directly to Krishna in the form of a gopi with no sadhana. In the material world, we understand this private devotion to Krishna in the different rasas are of an internal nature only intimated to the spiritsoul, and not in physical reality. Sakhi-bekhis attempt to ‘play’ female religiously, or that they must physically render themselves female to attain a spiritual goal; physical relations with ‘Krishna.’ This is something blasphemous and unseemingly for Vaishnavas. Transsexual Vaishnavas do not have such a goal in mind…

    Trans Vaishnavas seek to serve Krishna in a body they feel comfortable with; I am strongly sure that it would prevent another body being born in their next lives! In the 9th Canto, Chapter 1, it is all about Sudyumna’s gender change, and because it was flickering every month, the people were dissatisfied. If you look at Bhaktin Jennifer Woodward’s reply letter from Srila Prabhupada, he did say to choose a sex and to stick with it. To go sometimes male, sometimes female is not proper.

    Just to remind you all, transgender Vaishnavas who attempt to understand proper Vaishnava siddhanta are not sakhi-bekhis and try to attain Krishna so materially and cheaply. No matter what of person he or she is, it is through proper sadhana that slowly and gradually bhakti can be attained.

  10. I attempted to write this as objectively as possible, and so I wrote not only for transsexual and transgendered devotees, but also for devotees who may have misconceptions and no understanding of this condition what-so-ever. In the process, it sounds like I must have unintentionally hurt your feelings, Kevin. You can contact me on GALVA. Something which I had intended, but somehow didn’t show up in the post is that as jiva souls, we all have minute independence. We shouldn’t be obsessed with making rules to try to control everything someone does (hopefully “guidelines” aren’t meant to be the same as “resolutions”). So I wasn’t talking about trying to make decisions for Kevin. Even Krsna can’t force us, what to speak of a less powerful authority. Yet if spiritual authority is genuinely affectionate, and we feel that affection, we may wish to comply.

    The SB pastime of King Sudyumna is an example of sex change which modern science has yet to replicate. Ila was 2nd gendered and changed to King Sudyumna, who was 1st gendered. Throughout the story, pums-prakriti and stri-prakriti are repeatedly referred to, if you just look under the word-for-word sections. Modern-day transsexuals and transgendered persons fall into the 3rd gendered category, tritiya-prakriti. We do not change gender throughout this lifetime – at least not according to Vedic conception. Amara das discovered 11 factors, one or more of which can indicate a third-gendered person:

    1) the genes or “bijabhagavayava.”
    Any variation in the genes can produce a sexually-variant or third-
    gender person.

    2) the chromosomes or “bijabhaga.”
    Any variation in the chromosomes, such as XXY, X0, XXX, or mosaic
    patterns indicates a third-gender person.

    3) the ovum or sperm (“bija”).
    Any variation or lack in these can indicate a third-gender person.

    4) the gonads (the organs, also known as the testes or ovaries, which
    secrete the sperm or ovum).
    Any variation or lack in these indicates a third-gender person.

    5) the semen, vaginal fluids and hormones (“sukra” and “sonita”).
    Any variation in these can indicate a third-gender person.

    6) the genitals (penis or vagina).
    Any variation in these can indicate a third-gender person.

    7) secondary features (Adam’s apple, beards, muscles, etc. in men and
    breasts, wide hips, less hair and muscles in women).
    Any variation in these can indicate a third-gender person.

    8) sexual arousal and gender attraction (sexual orientation).
    Any variation or reversal of this can indicate a third-gender person.

    9) masculine or feminine behaviors and mannerisms.
    Any variation or reversal of these can indicate a third-gender person.

    10) masculine or feminine self-identity.
    Any variation or reversal of these can indicate a third-gender

    11) marital and procreative status.
    Any inability to satisfactorily marry the opposite sex and produce offspring can
    indicate a person of the third sex.

    I didn’t make any case for regularly changing sex. This seems to be a misunderstanding. I personally find it much more beneficial to stick to the same partner, same living place, etc. Still the Bhagavatam says the citizens were unhappy or dissatisfied on account of his not being able to rule properly, not out of some conservative phobia or something. Srila Prabhupada’s individual conversations and letters are according to time, place and circumstance. The essence of the Acarya will always be the same, but the details may differ. For example, first he told everyone to chant 64 rounds, then later he said 32, and afterwards he said 16. Do you think he’d of written the same thing to a devotee living in India, or a devotee in 2009?

    Also, several devotees in my city were asked by different gurus to change gender appearance back, after undergoing the whole transition. What do you do in this case??

  11. After I came out as being transgendered, and was forced to move out of the temple, I tried briefly to live with a Hijra (Indian concept of eunuch) so-called guru, but she insisted that I should cook fish, onions and garlic for her. So I left. After that I spent two years without any human contact (other than an hour per day at a vegetarian soup kitchen in a local church) living in a seedy, hole-in-the-wall residential hotel where I frequently found used condoms and broken syringe needles on the floor of the shared bathroom. It is said that very few people are qualified to live completely alone as bhajananandis. We see in Radha Kund, the havoc it creates when practiced artificially. I had never planned to live anywhere besides a cloister. I certainly hadn’t desired to get married, but as there wasn’t any physical ashram for third-gendered devotees to live together, this became my de facto ashram, and I get a decent amount of Krsna consciousness in this grhastha ashram.

    This Krsna consciousness movement is a house in which the whole world can live. If there is no space in one organization, we will simply find a place on another floor that house. Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Goswami Maharaja has affectionately accepted me. When I first met him, I told him about my third-gendered condition, and he knew the name of the exact gender subdivision. I enquired how I knew the rules and regulations for pums-prakriti, and some of the rules and regulations for stri-prakriti, but nothing for tritiya-prakriti. He chuckled in a very non-condecending manner, and said, “Oh, I see that you are a very new person. You haven’t heard all these things?” Pausing briefly he said, “You may chant Hari-nama and diksa mantras. There is no any restriction.” As I was walking out the door, he reminded me of my eternal identity, saying, “Just remember, there are no Hijras in Goloka.”

    • You yourself are of a third gender- why you use the Samba story in connection with gender change? Its like saying Hiranyakasipu was a king. He was evil. This Maharaja is also a king, so he’s like Hiranyakasipu. Therefore he must be evil. You see my point? Samba crossed-dressed. Samba was offensive to vaisnavas. Those who cross-dress or change gender are like Samba. They must also be offensive. You see the complete breakdown in logic here? Such use of stories is dangerous. It lacks truth.

      • It lacks truth but it is not uncommon- this misuse of stories and misuse of the philosophy. The point in the Samba story is that mockery is offensive. It hurts people. Another salient point is that simply dressing as a gopi does not qualify you as one. The first point is to be soft hearted. The second one is to be humble and honest about one’s conditioning. It has nothing whatsoever to do with gender change, Gita Dasi, and anyone who insinutaes you have made an offense by changing gender is deluded, because they are mistaking the body to be the soul. The body undergoes changes all the time- whether naturally or by surgery. Years ago I had my gall bladder removed. Am I less of a person? If I were to do another type of surgery and change my reproductive organs, am i a different person? In both cases, the answer is no.

  12. Robby

    Has anyone read 1st chapter of 9th Canto about “The Sex Change of King Sudyumna”?

    There is huge difference between someone who for whatever reason find himself/herself in wrong body and the story of someone disguising themselves as different gender for ulterior motive.

    • Thank you Robby, for supplying the relevant story. What gender we are in, or change our bodies to, doies not affect our constitutional position as Krsna’s servants, and those who think its at all relevant are simply confusing the body to be the self. Offenses affect our constitutional position- they cover it over- because Krsna closes off spiritual realization to those who are hard-hearted, esp to His devotees. The Samba story is about that. After all, Krsna Himself dressed up as a woman, to be with Radha. Arjuna changed genders- and was still dear to Krsna. Of course, when one is very spiritually advanced, one does not identify at all with thye material or psychic bodies and would not see the need for gender change- even if one is at the point of actually realizing oneself to be a gopi, for one knows the body as different from the spiritual self. Thius the goswamis of Vrindavan would meditate on serving Krsna as Gopis, while they worked in this world in their male bodies, doing the work of gopis- bringing fallen souls to Krsna through their wriitng. Those changing genders not to prove they are gopis, not for self-promotion but just for honesty- that they feel conditioned by a conception different to the gross body- are not in the category of sahajiyas. They are like most of us- identifying falsely with a bodily concept different from their mood as servants of the Lord. The only difference is that someone like me feels the same gender psychically and physically, whereas others feel a mismatch. As far as I know, no devotees are changing gender to prove they are gopis.

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