Jack Molay's picture

How the WHO medical manual is used to stigmatize sexual variation

The WHO medical manual says that only crossdreaming crossdressers can become tranwomen, not the ones that do not get aroused by the idea of being a woman. How did sexual arousal become such a sin?

I have spent some time looking at the American DSM manual. The American psychiatric manual say a lot about how some psychiatrist try to draw the line between different types of cross-gender identification.

There is another manual that is just as interesting, namely the WHO ICD manual (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems,10th Revision,Version for 2007)

Under "Mental and behavioural disorders" there is a category called "Disorders of adult personality and behaviour", where you will find both transsexualism and crossdressing/crossdreaming categorized as mental illnesses.

Jaded's picture

Re-Claiming Subversion

I haven’t written here for more than a month, because honestly I didn’t trust myself to write without exploding into particles of dust, or if I did manage to write somehow it would only be selective expletives repeated over and over — I’ve been more than just a little angry. Warning to readers, I’m not writing this to cater to your sensibilities, nor is this the moment to profess how you belong to [x] group but don’t do any [abc] I talk about. I am exhausted with keeping my anger inside, and it’s coming out in all insidious ways today.

When I repeat out of frustration to western feminists — yes western feminists get clubbed in the same indistinguishable a bubble as “South Asian feminist” feels to me — that abortion wars here are differentwe face different demons, we use different strategies, all they seem to hear is “India doesn’t consider abortion is illegal! They don’t have anything to complain about!”. Yes, factually, the Indian nation-state hasn’t outlawed abortion, that can hardly be cited as evidence to prove that there aren’t any problems. Or on the flip-side, almost every feminist (or not) publication from the Global North talks about the problem of female feticide India – additionally India and China are used interchangeably for some reason, as if any place that is Not the Global North must be a homogeneous mass of cultures  – to the extent that “feminism in India” means “sex-selective abortion”. There is a problem with using and perpetuating such a model, where you start equating a region’s “gender problems” to its feminism is probably the preliminary layer of fail; I’ve talked about  it long enough. What you leave out when you stick to the primitive equation of “Indian feminism = sex-selective abortion” are the many methods that the State designs to keep contraception from people who want to access it, to forcibly sterilise groups which the State thinks need to be curbed and even erased. It infuriates me that whenever one speaks of “sex-selective abortions” and its evils — yes fetuses are being aborted because they’re perceived to be ‘useless’ as they’re female, and it is evil, it needs to end, no disputing this fact. But there’s more to just a “culture thinking females are unworthy” that people don’t want to engage with — what western feminists don’t even consider is the way discourse around contraception figures here; mainly because they’re too busy presuming that it’s the same as it is in their native countries, but I digress.

Bekhsoos's picture

QUEERS: LEAD REVOLUTIONS, DO NOT SUPPORT OCCUPATION!


PQBDS AND PINKWATCHING ISRAEL tell Israeli Gay Youth (IGY) that Israeli Occupation cannot be reduced to neither “political tension” nor a “hot issue”.

Thanks to IGLYO Out of Israel and the massive support it got, the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization (IGLYO) and Israeli Gay Youth (IGY) announced that they would no longer hold IGLYO’s General Assembly in Tel Aviv, Israel. This marks the very first victory for queer-powered BDS!

However, in their joint statement, the two partners also announced that IGY’s World LGBTQ Youth Leader’s Summit, originally planned as a side event at the GA, is still set to be held in Tel Aviv in December 2011.

As we are nearing the deadline of application to the summit, LGBTQ youth leaders are being told that the event will include conversations with queer Palestinians and address “hot issues” and “political tensions” in Israel – their apparent “compromise” to the anger of queer BDS activists. Despite the announcement that IGY will hold conversations with queer Palestinians, no Palestinian queer group has actually received an invitation.

Tell IGY that Israeli Occupation cannot be reduced to a “hot issue” or “political tension”.
Shirley X's picture

the precipice

I guess I should start at the beginning of how it all fell apart. I am going to try to keep this condensed into one post but it is a lot of information so it may have to be broken down into a series. Keep in mind that this will in no way be filtered - I need to be totally honest and get it out there - it isn't nice and it isn't pretty and it isn't going to make you laugh - or it might, who knows. If anything - it will probably just confirm a thought that I am sure most individuals have when knowing me "wow, I am so glad I am not her".

It all began in January. I had been seeing this guy, I had known him years ago and we were basically communicating through emails. It was slow at first but then eventually I was all in, on paper - he was so fantastic. Now, talking about him isn't really that relevant to the events but I feel like talking about it, so I will. If you know me at all (which you really don't but let's pretend that you do) you'll know that i have a certain criteria when dating. It really isn't an insane, crazy list of things that must be checked off..just some things I prefer. Vocabulary is one, spelling and grammar/punctuation is another. I am not perfect by any means, but I feel like when one is a poor speller etc, they are just being lazy and I don't like it. Anyways, I was seriously invested in this guy - he wasn't super hot or anything - not at all actually. But he was thin (which I like) he had tattoos, which isn't a deal breaker but I sure like it and he was funny as f*ck. Which is key. Oh and yes, he was extremely intelligent.

Jaded's picture

Making Our Bodies Matter

friend and I started talking about communities, alliances and feminism(s) a few months ago — this conversation is a brief culmination of our identities and ideologies.

Me: Writing about bodies isn’t too difficult for me, that was until I realised “writing about bodies” meant writing of bodies other than mine, or even if I were to write about myself, the language automatically becomes clinical, my gaze objective and the talk goes to whatever is ailing me — it’s never about how I feel about my body, my relationship with my scars or what I see when I look in the mirror. As I am now living in a new city and adjusting to the weather patterns here, I have to take more care of my skin here than in I did in Mumbai, I have to leave myself notes to apply [x] cream before my heels crack and bleed — it’s such a jarring experience to see that my body has carried on without me (in a sense), has already started cracking, started healing in some parts while I have gone on and done something else. It all came to a head when I was thinking of Suheir Hammad‘s words — when she says “What am I saying when I say I sit in this body, dream in this body, expel in this body, inherit in this body” — where she posits the body as a start to all experiences, and here I was forgetting to take care of my body altogether, even in the most routine and seemingly trivial ways. I’ve often complained to friends that I feel ‘bound’ in this city — as public transport systems are irregular and auto rickshaws are a luxury I cannot always afford — so most of my ‘movement’ is between my apartment, the massive Uni campus and its libraries. Now that I re-think what I mean when I say ‘bound’, I mean more than just physical limits to where I can go or am kept from, I find limits in my syllables and expressions — precisely because my body feels those limits more intimately and primarily, as if my body translates these borders in the silences that creep up everywhere, from my thoughts to my academic writing. It’s only when I completely stopped producing words and syllables a week ago, went for a three-hour long walk, felt my words come back to me as I described to my guardian just why were my heels bleeding this time I realised how closely my body felt limited here*

*This isn’t to say there weren’t other barriers in Mumbai, just that navigating these particular changes is an entirely new experience for me.

Renee: It’s equally jarring to see your body stopped in time, unable to keep up with you, and trying to formulate contingencies for when it starts to slide backwards in time. This has been my experience since losing my job just more than a year ago.

My teeth hurt all the time now; one has eroded almost to the gum line, and I touch them constantly with my tongue and my fingers to make sure none are loose. I waited out a UTI two months ago, but an ear infection still lingers (and makes my teeth ache even more). There is no money for a doctor or dentist to attend to current ills, never mind the dreams I once had for my body. Most upsetting, when my current stash of hormone pills runs out, in perhaps a month or so, I may not be able to afford more, and at that point the person I know as me officially begins to disintegrate. I never really knew myself before starting hormones, and the threat of losing that is terrifying beyond what I can describe. Already I find myself glancing in the mirror more often, touching my face, to make sure I still exist.

But it’s not just the physical degradation I feel. For now, I’m staying in a friend’s spare room, sleeping upon a mattress on the floor, with all my worldly possessions piled in boxes around me. My days are lived largely in the space between my bed and the downstairs basement, where the household television is. I have few reasons to go anywhere else, and fewer resources to do so. I wear the same clothes most days, because to do anything else means doing more laundry, which inevitably costs someone money, even if that someone isn’t me. I don’t shower every day, or moisturize, or shave, or wear makeup, because all of those things are an expense too…and so again my body suffers.

It’s apropos that my body gets neglected first and most, as it’s the rejection of my body by others that led me here. Slowly it decays, out of sight and forgotten.

Me: Right, we’ve discussed this before. It’s not so strange, when you connect this ‘disappearance’ of any marginalised body (or in our specific contexts: a trans body and a third world woman’s body) to the larger theoretical hyper-visibility in academia, where you have theories on our bodies but empirical absence of our bodies. We’re still people who need “welfare”, we are still debating whether “woman” as a category can be made inclusive — basically, we don’t go beyond the boundaries our bodies set for us in academia, these ‘bodies’ (the way we see and live them) are wholly absent within mainstream feminist discourse. At the same time, there are people voicing us, fixing who we are and who we should be like, either they’re making theory for us or about us. Your bit about ghosts makes me think of our theoretical ghosts in academia. Sometimes I just don’t understand how to counter most theory I find about “third world” people(s) in any field. Recently I came across a study that talks about the dire condition of transgender people in Bangalore done by [x] European academic institution, where the entire focus was to show how pitiful and “unlivable” their lives are — the lives they’re leading sitting in their third worldly bodies as we talk and will continue to do so long after we’re done talking too —  and for a week and a half, I kept on going over their words, unable to respond in any manner at all. There is no denying that people here need help, specifically speaking, I would love help in [x] areas of my life too. But only if you see how much help you need too, how we can both help build each other’s identities. I’m not that interested in “self-sufficiency” as much I’d like to build alliances and common ground where there is little to go by, you know? Especially within theory, [as I’ve often ranted to you] I feel like a lot of my work, or the work the organisations put in, comes to signify very little change, if perceivable at all. There is, often a literal and a metaphorical wall when it comes to the subjects of development policies, between us and the people we are allied with, between my different selves (of different racial and gendered molds), that quite honestly I wonder if my body and voice exist, if anyone is listening at all.

And it’s not just recently I’ve started feeling invisible within academia — I remember reading things like “India is a backward and orthodox third world country” as a child in my geography text books and I’d mouth the words in my mouth, to see if the iteration of the word would somehow make them more believable — where in our daily lives we’re constructing “national pride” (at the cost of someone else’s border, always) and in school I was taught a different tale of India — but it’s now that I am beginning to learn the terms with which this exclusion in academia is accessible to me. Feeling isolated but not having the terms to legitimise your experiences — there’s something to be said about that, no?

arvan's picture

wonderful transgender rights campaign ad from Argentina

(h/t blabbeando)

Directed by Juan Pablo Felix
Photography & Still Photography: Nicolás Fernández & Javier Fuentes
Production: Matías Romero
Sound: Susana Leunda

Jaded's picture

On Signs And Signifiers

 

I’ve been pretty busy moving and settling in a new city these past three weeks, I couldn’t keep up with people, let alone the internet — thus thankfully missing debates around whether Mumbai should have slutwalks or not. One of the organisers asked me whether I’d be willing to help organise as we’ve worked on a few things together before. She was quite taken aback when I declined her offer (given that Slutwalk Mumbai ends up taking place) as we usually agree on most things when it comes to activism and organising. She asked, “But don’t you love your freedom? How can you pass up an opportunity such as this to see and know how far we can push boundaries?” and then I didn’t have any answers for her as I was, and am still caught up in thinking how for her, and a lot of people Slutwalk™ has come to symbolise the sum of all feminist rioting considering  Delhi, Calcutta, Hyderabad and Mumbai (from time to time) have had walks and pickets by feminists and people involved in gender justice, for causes ranging from more college seats for women to raising awareness about sex-selective abortions — each issue that emerges from our specific caste, gender, class conflicts in each specific city long before Slutwalk™ became an enterprise. Since this exchange, the rhetoric behind supporting slutwalks has become intertwined with “respecting and loving oneself” — where love¹ (of the self, of the ‘community’) is continuously intertwined to the extent that any opposition to slutwalk today is to “hate” freedom — and peculiarly, this ‘freedom’  that SW represents has to move away from anything “recognisably” Indian — whatever that means to people individually and collectively.

———

In other parts of the country — especially Delhi — newspapers and news channels are all fixed on Anna Hazare’s impending fast tomorrow, that has been a part of national rhetoric and vocabulary since late April. On the whole, Hazare demands for a new anti-corruption bill, asks people to fully and directly engage with the government and hold them accountable. When it comes to the news coverage of his speeches and his entire fast, the comparisons drawn to Gandhi are more than co-incidental – tomorrow being Independence Day for India, the analogy becomes even thicker, Hazare is viewed as the “one man army” who is going to drive away corruption, going by Gandhi’s views of freedom. While I don’t necessarily agree that this protest is “peaceful” at all, that by specifically re-membering India’s history of independence as one without critically admitting to ourselves and others that it meant freedom for only ‘some’ people, I do find such a ‘nation-wide’ movement fascinating — as from time to time we see women also supporting Hazare’s fast², it’s been a while since women have been featured under the “national gaze” as more than just agency-less subjects. However, coming to the actual protest due on 15th August at Delhi, it seems women may not have a harassment-free space to march and protest. Can’t say I’m particularly shocked if tomorrow there are mostly men broadcasted over the news — as Hazare (like Gandhi) still see women’s roles under traditional patriarchy of wifedom and motherdom. For instance, the Alcohol Prohibition Act reads like one that empowers women, to talk about their abusive alcoholic spouses – it supposes that only men can be alcoholics, that one has to be an alcoholic to abuse people; there are many loopholes to this and quite a few of his other arguments too, one of the most troubling being — does an anti-corruption movement erase/will attempt to smooth over India’s history and geography of communal violence and casteism?

——-

Christina Engela's picture

Out And About

Outing.

How do you feel about it?

I'm referring to the willful public exposure of individuals against their will, and without regard for their health or well-being. Quite often this is an intentional act of spite - sabotage - intended to ruin the life of the victim. An act of malice, to injure them, sometimes an act of revenge.

On Saturday I heard from a young friend that he had been outted and he was very distressed. It seems a love interest of his had tricked him into holding an intimate conversation via blackberry messenger, which he then showed to other people as proof that my friend is gay. There was also a phone call in which they discussed intimate details of getting together and formalizing their relationship, which had been something of an on-again-off-again thing over the past 2 years. My friend is 20 and the love interest 21. This guy shared the entire conversation with his mother, who is connected to my friends family by way of a second marriage to one of his relatives. Apparently she had also been allowed to listen in on the telephone conversation. My friend told me this woman had been calling all his close family and informing them that he is gay. His sister had called him to inform him of the situation and to ask what was going on. He was left with little choice but to come out to his mother before she received the same phone call.

This love interest of my friends seems by all accounts to be one of those guys who suffers from internalized homophobia, being incapable of accepting his own sexuality, while maintaining an overt heterosexual dating life, being all macho and outwardly homophobic - and meanwhile back at the ranch, he is equally comfortable in the sack with a guy. But just don't tell anyone about it. It is our little secret. It is little wonder then that this malicious act leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth. Was it some last ditch attempt to prove to the world, at the expense of another person's dignity and privacy, how "straight" he is?
Alex Karydi's picture

Gender Identity and the Conflict Within

Gender. Identity. What does it all mean?
WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE

Alex Karydi's picture

When Women Love Married Women

WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE

A troubling situation that should not be judged too harshly, we are all capable of falling in holes with little room to escape. I will try to be gentle and look at all sides when exploring this subject, and also remembers that it is very different to affairs in heterosexual couples.

It is important not to judge. Our society is so eager to humiliate, cast out, and punish us for our choices rather that teach openness, honesty, and the value of good intentions. We may all be a little healthier if we practice these principles on ourselves and each other.

Women are built to form emotional bounds; it was an intricate part of our survival in prehistorical times. We connect emotionally to each other, due to women having more of the chemical known as oxytocine “the love hormone.” That is why affairs affect lesbians very differently to heterosexuals and why there needs to be a different view point taken when understanding affairs between two women. This is not to say that straight people aren’t affected by affairs in their marriage, the impact of betrayal on any person regardless of sexual orientation can be devastating and painful.

As much as we would like to look the other way, the two women need to acknowledge that there is an individual being thrown into the affair without knowing or giving consent. When we attempt to manipulate our environment to our advantage where others are unwilling participants the consequences are often “very” ugly to severe. I have heard men tell me “it’s one thing for my wife to fuck another man but to shame me into fucking a woman that is a whole other story.”

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