Monday, October 13, 2008

Translate - Film about New England's Transgendered Community

"Funded by Rhode Island PBS and Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, 'Translate' is a short documentary film about the struggles of the New England Transgendered community. Winner of the PBS / Independent Lens Film Festival."  videoandvision

Greenwich resident is Japan's first transsexual geisha

October 13, 2008

News Shopper Online

THE reaction Mary Murdoch gets from walking down her street is very different to how she was greeted in Japan.

Born Malcolm Murdoch, the 68-year-old says she recently became the first transsexual geisha on a visit to Kyoto.

Mary, of Brownspring Drive, New Eltham, explained: “My ambition was to dress up as a geisha and at first they were reluctant.

“But in the end I convinced them. I was the first person to actually do this. They were very welcoming and put aside the normal rules for foreign tourists.

“Since then the Japanese government has a policy which says if there’s a female name on the passport then you may dress up as a geisha.”

Mary started having therapy at the Charing Cross Hospital in London four years ago.

Under the hospital's rules, she had to change her name and swap trousers for skirts, to make sure she would be comfortable turning her life inside-out.

She said: “The situation in the 60s was dreadful - it was hardly understood. People used to be given electro-shock therapy. . . .Read More

All GLBT High School Not Favored by Students

by Cole Mathisen
KIMT News 3

Clear Lake, IA- Bullying is a growing problem in many school systems.  One major Midwest city is looking at a possible solution to bullying in its schools.  The idea is to help one of the most targeted groups of students.

Later this month the Chicago school board will consider an all gay, lesbian, bi, and transsexual school.  The idea is to create a safer place for the students.  More than half of all gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and bi-sexual students admit to feeling unsafe at high school.

"I think a lot of the survey's that the youth of today complete in regards to this topic show that they can be very much at risk because of how they are treated,” said Kandice Bienfang-Lee who is a Social Worker for the Area Education Agency in Clear Lake, IA.

She says GLBT students come to her for a variety of reasons.

"Some are just wanting to be able to talk and explore that possibility others maybe have shared, and they are having some peers that are supporting them, and being an ally, and maybe others who aren't," she said.

It’s the students who are facing harassment that is prompting educators in Chicago to explore alternatives.  They say a proposed school would be open to all students but would cater to those with gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transsexual issues.  But some Chicago area students don't think it’s the answer. . . .Read More

Where have Kerala’s Hijras gone?

11 October 2008

K.P.M. Basheer

KOCHI: After a quarter century of tortured life as a woman trapped in a man’s body in a Kerala village, Geeta had fled to Chennai 16 years ago.

There, a small group of Hijras took her in. They sheltered her, burned her shirt and trousers, dressed her up in a sari and blouse and gave her the present name. Eventually, they nudged her into prostitution, at that time the easiest job available to a Hijra. She hated it initially, but found comfort in the identity as a Hijra (pronounced Hijda, meaning a transsexual person) and felt secure in sari-blouse and in the company of people of her own gender.

“Life in my village, near Thiruvananthapuram, was horrible,” Geeta recalls. “I was taunted, insulted and physically harassed at school, home and on the street, just because I talked and behaved like a woman.” Raised as a male and given a male name and male clothes, she yearned to be a woman though. She was more comfortable with cooking and housework at home than going out and doing the guy things.

“People in Kerala only accept males and females and not us, the trans-gendered people who are humans too,” she says in her Tamil-blended Malayalam. “It was my own family that insulted and harassed me the most, as they considered me as a curse.” Finally, when the family found a bride for her and the wedding date was fixed, Geeta tried to commit suicide, but ended up in hospital. One night, she left home and took a train to Chennai. Sixteen years on, Geeta is now an activist of a Chennai-based NGO that works for the welfare of trans-gendered people. . . .Read More