Thursday, November 17, 2005

Transgendence

One of the good things from the so-called “Wedding of the Year” is the publicity.

Though some opined that they should have done it quietly and not generate so much attention.

But what is so wrong about two people in love getting married? Why are people so set in their thinking that they can’t bear to see two people who are different from them, pursue the same goals and path to happiness?

It took Joshua Beh six proposals to get her hand in marriage, because Jessie she was “Terrified of ruining his life, she rejected his proposals - even though it broke her heart. There was nothing Miss Zhong would have liked more than to be married to her boyfriend of two years, but her love for him stopped her from saying yes.” [Taken from here.]

Besides that, it really incensed me that some people are calling this a same-sex marriage. They believe that Jessie was born a woman and thus she is a woman. A pastor even called her "half-half".

Taken from Bernama:
Asked on their sex life, Chung, who described her sex life as "fantastic" said they were satisfied living as husband and wife.

On whether they would have "children", she said that they have no plans yet at the moment.


Perhaps Bernama has its own "ideas" about sex, that it is somehow "different" from normal sex. Why, their "clever" minds even think that their children will be "special".

These woefully uninformed people are clearly unaware of intersex or hermaphrodites and all sorts of other genetic variations like Turner syndrome and triple-X syndrome.

It all comes down to two things actually. Fear of the unknown. Fear of things that are not in black or white. So much fear that one can’t even think straight and act insensitively and inhumanely.

Surely you would also have noticed that the ones who are objecting are mostly males? Yes, that’s the second thing – the perception that a patriarchal society is being threatened.

How? No idea.

Probably husbands who are already married would want to marry their best male friend and that some women perfectly happy with who they are would want to have a sex change.

The Malaysia government clearly state that they can’t change the gender in one’s IC (identification card) because it’s based on the genetic and biological sex at birth.

It’s silly, really.

People change all the time. When one applies for IC at the age of 12, a picture is taken. Why require people to change their IC when they’re 18?

I still look like the same. I still have similar features – small eyes, sharp nose, wear glasses, etc.

For the simple reason that the IC should reflect the person currently, your present physical aspects and not someone 10 or 20 years ago.

That’s the logical part. The other part is political and religious of course. If the government were to allow the change in gender on the IC, it would imply that the they support transsexualism, or at the very least, is OK about it.

It is also a disturbing fact that society in general can’t distinguish between transgenderism, homosexuality, bestility and bisexuality.

This was apparent when Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said "to make a thorough study of the problems and issues affecting the transgender group, such as homosexuality, bisexuality and same-sex marriage."

Furthermore, a lot of people still think that homosexuality and transgenderism is a Western import. Thus they used the all too familiar argument of “This is against our Asian culture and values.”

Yeah, and so are automobiles, mobile phones, decent toilet facilities, kissing, using forks and spoons and shopping malls. Aren’t those things foreign too?

Moreover, what are Asian culture and values anyway? Bound feet, women not looking directly at men when talking, polygamy, arranged marriage, young girls stop schooling when they are twelve, no holding hands between couples, etc?

Are Asian values synonym with good and Western culture bad? How does one separate what is Eastern and Western anyway, when many things are getting homogenous and practiced in a lot of countries?

We all know that homosexuals and transgenders have existed since the Greeks and ancient Chinese dynasties.

Coincidentally, this issue is brought up on Fridae, where Alex Au said that Asian countries should document our own queer history.

That if we were asked to prove “that homosexuality didn't come to Singapore – or Cambodia, Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand or whichever country you're in – from the West. He wants you to prove that the first documented case of homosexuality in his country occurred before the farangs (Thai for westerner or Caucasian), gweilos (Hong Kong/Cantonese term which literally means foreign devil), mat sallehs (Malay term to mean westerner or Caucasian) and angmohs (Hokkien term which literally means red hair) showed up at the Nation party.

And frankly, most of us would have a hard time doing so.

What do we know, for example, of homosexually-inclined people of our own Asian country who lived two generations before us? What was it like to be homosexual in Shandong in the 1920s? In Malaya in the 1940s? In Vietnam in the 1960s?

They left little record of their lives. What thoughts filled their private moments? Where did they meet? What did they themselves think of their deepest longings? For answers, we generally have but blank pages.

The absence of history however, is not without consequence. We shouldn't be surprised that many people go around thinking that homosexuality never existed in our local cultures until imported from the West, and on that presumption accuse us of being misguided and see homosexuality as a threat to traditional culture.


Being queer is definitely not some foreign, decadent culture from the West. It has always been around, but with very little visibility in the past, if at all.

People of all levels of society has missed the forest for the trees. It all boils down to this actually – two people who are happily in love and want to spend the rest of their lives together. Everything else should be secondary.

Is that not too much to ask? Apparently, it is.

[In case you were wondering, there is no typo or spelling error in the title.]

14 comments:

MrBunnyBan said...

Myah...so much deep thought and introspection. o.O
I know! What we need now is some trans webcomics for the lazzzzy-brain people! Bweehee!

http://venusenvy.keenspace.com - Follow Zoe's blisful life through womanhood and football! Or not...oh, just read it.

http://jadaze.keenspace.com -aka "Lean on Me", old-old-old webcomic about the relationship between a less than beautiful girl and her MTF lover.

http://www.transe-generation.com - Storyline? Who needs storyline, get your quick giggle fix here!

Oooohkay. I'd done here- better split before Derek comes back. =p

Anonymous said...

Transgendence as a play of words on transcendence ?

Hmmm me dont know, not too bright a gay over here.

G

MrBunnyBan said...

Look, a troll! Oh, how boring. Look the other way folks, nothing worth seeing or mentioning there.

I'm not so keen on staying in culture myself - "Buang yang keruh, ambil yang jernih" is my stand on any culture. I like being myself and having my own identity. :)

Malaysia has got a long way to go in terms of human rights- be it women's rights, the rights of the disabled, religious freedom, and right to fair trial(ISA anyone?). PLUs is just one of sector that needs work.

Anonymous said...

http://www.plupenang.com/articles/gaymovement.php

Derek, maybe you are interested on those. It was presented by Darrel Fong in plu penang in one of the gathering session. It contains a little bit history on the ancient chinese gay

SLeeK@ER said...

Hihi, just drop by here! and of course, NiCe to meet you!

hoknotyalc said...

Queer, Gay, Bi, Bi, Straight, Male, Female...those are just label that people give each other so that they can categories people. But when people put positive or negative views to these categories, thats when we ask ourself, "who are we to to say what is right and what is wrong? Who made us Gods?" There is a line from South Pacific that goes, "We are not born to hate but we are taught to Hate"

Spot said...

I agree with most of what you've said...and I have a lot more to say. But whilst I articulate my thoughts, I want to first highlight.

First and foremost, Jessie's case is not an issue of homosexuality. In fact, it is not to the benefit of the transsexual community to be lumped in under the banner of homosexual.

Example. You, derek, are gay. But would you ever consider getting a sex-change to become a woman? Likely not. That's where you are different from Jessie.

Post-op transsexuals feel trapped in the wrong biological body. If you think about it, in terms of sexual orientation, they are actually heterosexual. They get labelled homosexual based on their biological bodies. :)

Secondly, there is a distinct difference btwn transgender and transsexualism. The most accepted definition of transgender is -

People who were assigned a gender, usually at birth and based on their genitals, but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of themselves.

Notice that it says nothing about defining themselves as the opposite gender from their biological one?

Transsexuals have been the poor cousins of homosexuals. And the even poorer cousins of homosexuals? The transgenders.

It really isn't as simple as saying "I'm gay", because sometimes, that just isn't true, despite what's happening between two physical bodies with the same genitals.

Thirdly, the Marriage and Divorce (Reform) Act doesnt have the caveat of "even if one of them has undergone a sex change operation". It just says that it must be between a male and a female.

Proof of gender must be shown, via your birth certificate. That's where Jessie and other transsexuals run into problems. The Dept. of Registration.

Jessie's marriage is not legal, and I'm sure she's aware of it. What she chose to do, was not intended to directly challenge the law. It was a very brave plea for her humanity and their love to be acknowledged in the eyes of not the law, but friends and family.

savante said...

Good God. Am I the only shallow one who feels for the poor girl for having a husband who looks better than her at the wedding?

Paul

kyels said...

Hmm..

I don't quite agree with the marriage because it's definitely wrong though he has turned into a girl. Well, I guess as long as her husband is happy about it then... I guess it's all right.

:)

canardbidon said...

male, female, whatever - shouldn't be anyone's business who you want to spend your life with..

but lots of ppl are shockingly rude - "he, she... no lah, let's say it" *laughter* is a much-heard line

AJ said...

Just let them be. It must be so horrible for both of them! they donr even want to the gov to recognize their union. they just want to be together. its only complicated because of man-made-regulations meant to protect us not hurt us. We are all humans, arent we? Many other countries seem to be progressing so well in these areas. Why not us?

Derek said...

mrbunnyban: Thanks for the links. Will check them out later.


anonymous: Yup, you're right. Who says you're not bright? ;P


mrbunnyban: Couldn't agree more.


anonymous: Thanks for the tip. I have actually posted them up earlier.

If anyone is interested, go to August archives and scroll down a little. It was posted up on 27th August.


sklee: Thanks and welcome for dropping by. ;P

Do come visit again.


hoknotyalc: As it is common, people fear and hate what they do not understand.

And then there are the "Books" which a lot of people place authority in. They fail to realise that life isn't black and white.

Derek said...

spot: As usual, spot on. ;P

A few people have come out and say that what's the point of legalising sex reassignment surgery (SRS) if the government is not recognising the person post-op?

Thanks for the info about the Marriage and Divorce (Reform) Act.

Jessie has always been female - psychologically, emotionally and sexual identity wise. So technically, her marriage is legal.

Who better to certify and give proof of a person's sex other than doctors? If only the government will recognise that proof and act accordingly.


savante: Surely, you can look deeper than that. LOL


kyels: It is not wrong once you know and realise what transsexualism is all about.


canardbidon: Those people who are shockingly rude are those who are still under a certain coconut husk. The inhabitants of the world are complex and complicated creatures, but they think otherwise.


aj: Yup, we are not progressing, in fact, regressing. If Iran can do it, why not us?

Spot said...

I have been out of the business too long...the correct title is "Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976". :)

Legality is a technical construct, determined and bestowed by Parliament and interpreted by the Courts. Jessie's marriage is technically illegal. Ours are subjective arguments.

Medically, in terms of chromosomes and gonads, Jessie would still be considered a biological man.

The Govt recognises what's on the birth cert. The problem is this -the baby's sex as stated on the birth certificate, is based on what the parents report, which in turn is based on the doctor's confirmation. The problem is that the BC is a one-time record.

By law, you can't change details of your birth certificate unless it is to correct an error. The record of biological birth sex is usually not in error.

The IC details are based on the BC, so even if it's possible to change the sex stated on your IC (it's not), the more important document is the BC. Which you can't change.

And I personally don't think people should be allowed to change the BC. It's a HISTORICAL record.

What Malaysia needs, if it intends to address problems like Jessie's, is for Parliament to pass law setting up a system where a transsexual can re-register his/her reassigned sex stated on the IC. And then to amend the Law Reform (M&D)Act to use the IC as proof of a person's sex. Better still, remove Section 69(d).

Sorry, I'm lecturing here...shall write a more detailed (haha) thing for my own blog. :)