Definition of a Eunuch

The dictionary meaning of a eunuch is:

A castrated man, especially one in charge of a harem, or a high-voiced singer; an ineffectual person, lacking in some way in force or power.

While reviewing the history of eunuchs, we came across two types:

  1. Congenital eunuch: A congenital eunuch is one born with ambiguous genitals. Also referred toas a hermaphrodite or a natural eunuch. In the West and congenital eunuch is known as an intersexual, which is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definitions of male or female. In Urdu, a congenital eunuch is called a ‘khusra.’
  2. Man-made eunuch: A man-made eunuch is one who has been emasculated by human action. Also referred to as a transsexual. In Urdu, a castrated man is called a ‘narban.’

‘Hijra’ is a word used in Pakistan to refer to a khusra, a narban, and also a zenana. The word ‘zenana’ refers to a transvestite; a person, especially a male, who dresses in the clothing of the opposite sex.

At CREDP, when we talk about eunuchs, we are referring to congenital eunuchs only. We consider transsexuals and transvestites to be male persons adopting a different role than the one they were naturally born with.