Indian election authorities have granted what they called an independent identity to gays and transsexuals -- a third gender -- on the country's voter lists. Members of these groups were referred to as male or female on the voter rolls in the past. Now they will have the choice to pick "O" -- for others -- when indicating their gender on voter forms, the Indian election commission said in a statement Thursday. India, home to more than 1 billion people, has 714 million registered voters.India creates third gender for voters - UPI.com. In order to unpack what happened and how the US lost again, let's figure out what these sex wars are and what winning them might look like. "Sex"- bodily identification as male or female- is generally separated out from "gender"- which is more like your performance- as masculine or feminine. In this way, you can be a man in your body, but have a gender performance that is feminine let's say. In the past 20 years or so, gender theory has increasingly asked whether these are really two separate categories at all. Judith Butler, in her 1989 Gender Trouble, famously asked, what if sex has been gender all along? In other words, what if this thing- this bodily thing- that we think is stable and real and easily readable as "male" or "female' is in fact as messy and unclear as when a woman fixes the engine on her car in overalls and high heels? Historians like Thom Lacqueur have added to this sense that "gender" and "sex" are both the same and both messy by showing how the two sex system is fairly recent, like Reformation recent. Fom the Classical Greeks till about 1600 or so, Western doctors and laypeople alike thought there was ONE sex (and it was male- women were just inverted versions of the more perfect male form). The interesting thing about the one sex model is it allowed for those who were not one nor the other (their genitals were not fully inverted- like a woman's-- nor fully extroverted-like a man- so the "in-betweens" did not cause a category crisis). The two-sex model demanded humans be male or female. No messiness. Bodies can not be "both" nor can they be "neither." Since the mid 1900s, whenever a body did not conform to the binary, it has generally been treated as a "medical emergency" and reshaped to fit our preconceived notions of sex, even though the result is often total lack of sexual pleasure and even pain as an adult. The treatment of "intersex" babies is so clearly an imposition of binary thinking on messy bodies that feminist biologist Anne Fausto-Sterling has argued that we should allow for at least 5 sexes to describe how babies are actually born instead of how we wish they were born. But how, and why, did the messiness of sex and gender get tangled up with "gays"? For that, we had to wait for the Victorian sexologists, and their notion that homosexuality was a form of gender inversion (manly women, feminine men) that was written on the body as a lack of sexual dimorphism. In other words, the body is a mess. Naturally so, but we now insist bodies be neat and fit into a binary because of the imposition of human ideal forms onto it, ideal forms that are now not just philosophical or scientific, but commercial and for-profit as well. The only way to "win" the sex wars, is to refuse to participate in them. To allow people to check "other" and "both" and "neither" rather than forcing them into m/f ideal form that so clearly does not fit how bodies are shaped nor how bodies perform. And so India is now way ahead of the US in the sex wars. But this is one war we could actually win and no one would die and it wouldn't cost a lot of money. If only we could remove ourselves from 500 years of binary thinking and a hundred years of creating the homosexual as having a very messy sex/gender (and the heterosexual as having a very clearly defined sex that goes along with the appropriate gender- manly men or femme women). Of course. winning the sex wars would take real leadership and courage. And that is another thing India seems to have a lot more of than we do.