In Islam, androgyny as well as homosexuality is seen as something sinful — “cursed”, to quote the Prophet, as well as being a Sign of the Hour. Today, many see this attitude, commonly expressed in various revealed religious traditions, as hateful and unenlightened. Yet I came across a curious revelation in an eastern spiritual tradition which seems to concur (many in the West view eastern spiritual traditions as being “open” and “non-judgmental”).
“In the practice of medicine there is a differentiation of treatment according to the Yin and Yang of men and women. There is also a difference in pulse. In the last fifty years, however, men’s pulse has become the same as women’s. Noticing this, in the treatment of eye disease I applied women’s treatment to men and found it suitable. When I observed the application of men’s treatment to men, there was no result. Thus I knew that men’s spirit had weakened and that they had become the same as women, and the end of the world had come. Since I witnessed this with certainty, I kept it a secret.” — from the Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo
Much of the Muslim imagination today is mired in reactionary exchanges with popular culture. A prime example of this is the myopic fixation on homosexuality versus a broader critique and response to the androgenization of society. Either way I found, not for the first time, a kindred spirit in Tsunetomo’s lament, losely translated as “fallen leaves”.