Monday, June 01, 2009

Transgender: Jay's story

Jay describes his transition from female to male and how he feels now.

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Kenya: The Fallacies of Identity Politics

by Audrey Mbugua

21 May 2009


Deeply concerned about the profound discrimination experienced by Kenya's transgender community, Audrey Mbugua berates Kenyan society for its unjust treatment of a marginalised group. Rather than creating 'transgender rights' per se, Mbugua calls upon the country to view transgender people as human beings like any other group. Deeply scathing of Kenya's entrenched 'trans-phobia' and the divisive nature of different groups' competing for recognition, the author implores those marginalised to see themselves as part of a wider struggle for justice that transcends identity politics.

Identity politics refers to a political action to advance the interests of a group whose members perceive themselves to be oppressed by virtue of a shared and marginalised identity (such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation).

Two weeks ago, a colleague of mine summoned me into his office and played a news clip dating back to August last year. It involves a Kenyan transgender girl been brutally beaten up in the streets by a group of women and men. Her face is swollen and her clothes torn. She begs for mercy but her pleading is drowned out by the laughter of women and children. She tries to cover her tiny breasts but a man uncovers them for the cameraman to capture it all. After this macabre footage, a female news anchor laughs before yapping about something else 'important' (probably the trauma of gender violence among abused women).

A week ago, I got hold of a collection of hallowing experiences that a group of Kenyan women went through during the infamous post-election violence.[1] One of the accounts reveals a woman who was raped by a group of 11 policemen as her son watched in horror. In the process, she was infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Another lady reveals that she had full-blown Aids and was bedridden when Kenya went to the elections in 2007. But this did not deter a group of Kenya's General Service officers from raping her. She further revealed that her husband had died a year earlier and her health had deteriorated to the level of her giving up on anti-retroviral therapy. Apart from religious fanatics who believe everything happens for a purpose and God knows and plans everything, who would justify these horrendous acts? Who would want these things to happen to oneself whether there was any purpose or if God had planned them? . . .Read More

Change of direction, new love

by Jill Stark

May 31, 2009

RACHEL and Kimberley Rae say they owe their lives to Dr Trudy Kennedy and the gender dysphoria clinic she worked at. Theirs is an unlikely love story.

Born male, they both longed to be female, knowing from the age of five they weren't like other little boys. In adulthood the decision to "stop living a lie" brought them together.

They met in 2002 a week after Rachel's surgery, which transformed her from Bob, previously a carpenter, a welder and a security guard from central Victoria, into a woman who had finally found peace but who had lost her family as a result. . . .Read More

Gender change 'priceless'


May 11, 2009

Local transsexual woman beginning PhD on the topic

The approximate cost of surgery to transition from a man to a woman? Around $20,000.

The cost for a woman to become a man? Roughly $80,000.

The peace of mind that comes after years of hoping, dreaming and planning to make the gender you feel match the sex you are? Priceless, according to Carol Allan, a local transsexual woman who made her transition nearly two decades ago and is now beginning a PhD on the topic.

Transsexual people, both pre- and post-surgery, have been in the media across Alberta since the provincial government announced in April that it would no longer fund sexual reassignment surgery.

But while Allan fully disagrees with that move, she says transsexuals have been portrayed as needy people lapping up welfare money, unable to stand on their own feet. . . .Read More

Gender setters- when doctors play God

by Jill Stark

31 May 2009

Two former patients of Australia's controversial sex-change clinic say misdiagnosis and wrongful surgery destroyed their lives. Jill Stark reports.

HE WILL never forget the noise. Lying on the hospital trolley being pushed towards the operating theatre he heard a primal wail. He looked back to see his younger sister sobbing, traumatised by what he was about to do.

Andrew*, born male, was minutes away from an operation that would make him a woman. Psychiatrists said he had a female brain in a male body. Gender reassignment surgery was the only way to ease the mental torment.

But as he headed to surgery he was struck by an unshakeable thought: "It's not right." He remembers telling the surgeon: "I think I'm doing the wrong thing, I think we've got to stop it."

The surgeon stroked Andrew's face, telling him it was natural to feel frightened before an operation. He protested again. Then it went black. When he woke up he was sure the surgery had been cancelled. The tales he had read of transsexuals who awoke post-surgery feeling "reborn" convinced Andrew, then 21, the operation had been halted, because he felt no different. "Then I remember lifting up the sheets and … feeling it all bandaged. I just started bawling my eyes out and screaming … I remember saying to myself, 'how could you be so bloody stupid?"'. . .Read More