Monday, April 07, 2008

Spotlight: Mak nyahs have not abandoned God



DIANA (not her real name), a transgender, works as a nurse in a local hospital.

Recently, she had been given a Quran by her superior, who enrolled her into a counselling session and asked her to bertaubat (repent).

At the Mak nyah Drop-in Centre of PT Foundation, mak nyahs have religious studies, too.

But a marked difference is they are not asked to "repent".

Instead, every Thursday and Saturday for two hours, Ustaz Muhamad Kasim Mohd Osman from the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi) explains Islamic teachings to his students using simple terms in a non-judgmental manner.

Mak nyahs learn about fardu ain - the fundamental obligations of an individual, which include solat (prayers), zakat (tithes) and puasa (fasting). They are also given guidance in self-motivation, personality-building and personal development.

Response, ever since classes started four years ago, has been nothing less than exceptional.

It's a misconception that transgenders do not believe in religion, says Khartini Slamah.

"I'm a Muslim and a transgender. I don't feel a conflict.

I still believe in God. Many Malay mak nyahs believe in religion. We pray five times a day, but we don't have to tell people that. We don't have to."

Twenty-five years ago, it was almost impossible to string the words "Islam" and "transsexuals" in one sentence without creating some sort of confrontation. . . .Read More

What's a 'ze' to do? A transgender approach

By Stephanie Innes
Arizona Daily Star

For some people, "he" and "she" are limiting terms.

While many of the transgender people at last week's "Transgender 2008" conference in Tucson were transsexuals who strongly believe that at one time they were a woman trapped in a man's body or vice versa, others said the distinction is less clear.

Some say "man" or "woman" doesn't describe who they are. A few prefer gender-neutral pronouns, like "ze" for he and she, and "hir" (pronounced "here") for his and her. Others refer to themselves in written form as s/he to denote both their male and female sides.
Post-genderism or moving beyond the gender binary was a common theme during the conference, particularly among many younger transgender people who are more at ease than some of their older counterparts with calling themselves gender blenders, gender queer or nonconforming. . . .Read More

Transgender Talk Show Host Tackles Taboos in India

Day to Day,
April 3, 2008 · India may be the home of the Kama Sutra, but for years frank talk about sex has been utterly taboo.

Lately, however, a transgender talk show host is changing the boundaries of dialogue. In recent episodes of her show Ippadikku Rose, Rose has tackled workplace harassment, divorce, premarital sex and the benefits of legalizing prostitution.

In the past, blunt discussion of such topics has drawn serious backlash. In 2005, for example, a popular Tamil actress was slapped with a lawsuit when she broached the subject of premarital sex. Around the same time, a nightclub was shut down after a photo in a local paper showed a couple kissing on its leather couches. . . .Listen and Read More

The New Dowse Celebrates Gender Diversity

7 April 2008

Trans-what? Assume Nothing: Demystifying and Celebrating Gender Diversity

Transsexual, intersex, pan-sexual – when you enter TheNewDowse’s latest exhibition Assume Nothing, you will be greeted by a series of intimate portraits and a long list of terms that illustrate the diversity of gender identity.

However, photographer Rebecca Swan says this list is by no means exhaustive.

“There are terms like transgender, transsexual, whakawāhine, fa’afafine, hermaphrodite or intersex, as well as drag kings and drag queens. But within those boxes, every person’s way of identifying their gender is unique. Not everyone fits neatly into these categories. The title sums it up – although sometimes it’s challenging, I try not to assume anything about anyone’s gender identity or in-fact anything about them including their sexual identity.” she says.

Swan’s intimate portraits of people who have alternative gender identities will be shown publicly at TheNewDowse from April 12, alongside new documentary footage by award-winning director Kirsty McDonald.

Featuring several well-known personalities, such as politician Georgina Beyer, performer Carmen Rupe, activist and educator Mani Bruce Mitchell and artist Shigeyuki Kihara, the exhibition profiles over 20 people who define their own gender identity. . . .Read More

Transsexual trucker wins sex discrimination claim

April 7, 2008 icWales

A transsexual trucker has won a sex discrimination claim after he was forced out of his job just weeks after arriving at work dressed as a woman.

Former soldier Mike Gaynor was well-liked and respected in his trucking job in Liverpool, which he landed in October 2006.

But trouble began when the twice-married father arrived for his shift to transport biscuits to a depot near Cardiff as Vikki-Marie, wearing make-up and jewellery.

The former scout leader, who obtained his HGV licence with the Royal Corps of Transport, told bosses in February last year that he intended to become a woman. . . .Read More