Wednesday, June 25, 2008
KRUJE, Albania: Pashe Keqi recalls the day nearly sixty years ago when she decided to become a man. She chopped off her long black curls, traded in her dress for her father's baggy trousers, armed herself with a hunting rifle and vowed to forsake marriage, children and sex.
Had she been born in Albania today, says the 78-year-old sworn virgin, who made an oath of celibacy in return for the right to live and rule her family as a man, she would choose womanhood.
"Back then, it was better to be a man because, before, a woman and an animal were considered the same thing," says Keqi, who has a bellowing baritone voice, sits with her legs open wide like a man and relishes downing shots of Raki and smoking cigarettes. "Now, Albanian women have equal rights with men and are even more powerful, and I think today it would be fun to be a woman."
Sworn virgins became the patriarchs of their families, with all the trappings of male authority, by swearing to remain virgins for the rest of their lives.
The ritual was a form of self-empowerment for rural women living in a desperately poor and macho country that was cut off from mainstream Europe for decades under a Stalinist dictatorship. But in Albania today, with Internet dating and MTV, the custom is all but disappearing. Girls no longer want to become boys. . . .Read More
David F. Khalili
The film follows a group of young pre-op Male-to-Female transgender women who are going through the preliminary stages and bureaucracy of obtaining the right to have this surgery. We meet Vida, a 26 year-old queen of all "diagnosed transsexuals." . . .Read More
Join him, as well as several women photographed for Divas of San Francisco, at a reception for the opening of the show, this Thursday evening, June 26, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.
Good Vibrations Polk Street Gallery is located at 1620 Polk Street, between Sacramento and Clay.
Special to Globe and Mail Update
June 25, 2008
Downtown Toronto will shut down Sunday as people gather to celebrate homosexuality and gender-bending. The occasion is Pride Day, one of Canada's largest cultural events.
Some complain that the event's mainstream acceptance has left Pride without soul, a massive corporate-sponsored opium-farm. Where, the radicals ask, is the deep iconoclastic spirit of the very first Pride marches, before it was safe to be gay?
More than ever, the answer is in the second part of what the Pride revellers gather to be proud of: not homosexuality, but gender-bending. Today, in most parts of Canada, almost anyone can be gay. But to be transgender takes a particular courage.
Canadians are steadily approaching the new cultural battleground of transsexual rights mindful of ethical lessons from previous debates about minorities. There is also a more personal connection. Everyone is realizing that their gender identity is complex, and we feel natural empathy where that complexity is most intense. An extraordinary transgender "pride" is still necessary, however.
Canada's youngest MP, Pierre Poilievre, spoke out against covering sex changes under the public health budget a few weeks ago. Inventing a term that conjures images, Mr. Poilievre said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty favours a "sex-change program" because he wants the funding for his province. Mr. Poilievre also said surgery for diagnosed transsexuals is meantime "medically unnecessary," which is news to medical scientists. . . .Read More