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Pakistan allows trans men and women their own gender category

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  1. Abdul Azeem 27 Apr 2011, 1:43pm

    the first steps towards equality for all in Pakistan……..I can just see the Taliban seething in anger……still heaps of work to do to keep things moving forward…..one step at a time, one step at a time…..

    1. I see the taliban gathering round for another dancing boi ,u know what goes down in norther afghanistan in particular?

      1. Abdul Azeem 28 Apr 2011, 8:01am

        it’s not just in Northern Afghanistan…..there are many Pakistani jokes about the Pashtun in Khyber Pakhtunkwa (previously NWFP). What do you expect with strict sex segregation…….although these things are generally one to one and consensual as opposed to the picture you paint Rapture…….I’m of Pakistani origin and have made many visits there and have discussed this issue at length with family there, some of whom are gay.

        1. yea right , the taliban and warlords of afghanistan are really known for their tolerance of the concept of consent.

  2. Helen Wilson 27 Apr 2011, 1:48pm

    As a woman with a transsexual history I could not think of anything more disturbing to me than being classed a 3rd gender, its really just a 3rd class citizen label that says please discriminate.

    1. thats how they see themselves.. and thats how they want to be defined:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijra_%28South_Asia%29
      “Hijra identities have no exact match in the modern Western taxonomy of gender and sexual orientation,[12] and challenge Western ideas of sex and gender.[4] Most are born apparently male, but some may be intersex (with ambiguous genitalia). They are often perceived as a third sex, and most see themselves as neither men nor women. “

      1. Abdul Azeem 28 Apr 2011, 8:14am

        Helen that may be the case in the West but certainly not in Pakistan. This is giving the Hijra community legal status and from there they will build on their rights. Of course there will be discrimination but giving them legal status is not going to make it worse on the contrary it will show the people of Pakistan the legitimacy of the Hijra community.

  3. TheSuburban Bi 27 Apr 2011, 2:46pm

    I think the problem is not with what the Hijra want in Pakistan (and India) — they appear to want and have lobbied for the 3rd gender category — but with the Western media’s use of the word ‘trans’ to describe them, when it’s not a proper translation for ‘hijra’ and conflates the issues and concerns of a great number of people into one.

    1. Uh huh. Did you see the BBC’s terrible article on it? They were using “a transgender” as a noun and kept referring to third-gender folk as transsexuals. Even this pinknews article refers to “trans men and women” twice, rather than the much more accurate non-binary option of “transfolk”.

      1. Shock, horror!

  4. Suburbanbi is spot on. Western ‘trans’ categories (transvestite, transsexual, transgender) are all psychopathologies and should not be confused with gender-variant designations in other cultures and communities. This is just another example of the lazy reporting in the Western media of variations and innovations in other cultures. Hijra existed long before Magnus Hirschfeld came up with the pathological trans categories and will no doubt still be around long after trans categories have fallen into disuse.

    1. Excuse me, being trans is not a psychopathology. Evidence is increasingly mounting that it is a congenital physical condition of neurological intersex. As to whether trans people then self-identify as male, female, or somewhere in between; that is cultural.

      1. I’m pretty sure the two of you just agreed with one another; Lilith wasn’t supporting Hirschfeld’s categorisations, but decrying them.

        1. I’m not decrying Hirschfeld’s categorisations, and in no way are trans people psychopathic, no more than gay people.

  5. That’s pretty awesome really. We western country’s think that providing a route to sex change is all that trans(used as a umbrella term for all gender variant people) people need.
    When actually there are many people here as well that would prefer to identify as a third gender. I myself wouldn’t want to be designated as anything other than female, but just yesterday I was speaking with some friends who would love to have a 3rd gender to choose.
    So hurray for Pakistan doing something better than us!
    (also I agreed trans categories are terrible. Though I do identify myself as transgender)

  6. This seems the best solution all round. No matter how much people want it to be true, a surgically and chemically created gender is NOT a the same as a born one, so a third gender is the most appropriate categorisation technique.

    1. But there is no true third sex, and society is 99.9% binary gender. Most trans people identify very strongly as either male or female. Trans people’s gender is NOT surgically and chemically created, it is innate, set at birth by foetal hormones, as is everyone’s gender equally set by the same mechanism. The correct and accurate expression of that innate and inherent gender requires medical effort.

      Whilst nice for those few who truly feel that they cannot fit comfortably within male/female, this ‘third gender’ status can equally be used to *enforce* othering, which is niether proper, nor fair.

      1. Sorry Nell, but you’re really stuck in a 19th century, Westernised model of gender. You’re 99.9% statistic is entirely spurious and ignores, not only the cultural differences in approaches to gender that have been and still are practiced in South and South East Asia, North America, the Pacific Islands, the Phillipines, etc., but you also ignore the instances of intersex people (1:2000 is the most conservative estimate, 1:1000 is the more radical view) that are born every day. The gender binary is not a fact, it has been carefully constructed over the past 3 or 4 centuries. As for trans categories: like homosexuality, they were invented as pathologies. Unlike homosexuality, they remain pathologies to this day. It’s the only way that trannssexuals and transgender people can get funding for gender reassignment AND the only way you can get a gender recognition certificate is by admitting that you have gender dysphoria and getting two psychiatrists to confirm the condition.

        1. Stop calling it a pathology then, if it isn’t. Gay people didn’t ‘stop being pathological’, because they never were to begin with. Neither are trans people. Do not legitimise scientific ignorance and bigotry simply because it’s the prevailing norm. Yes, trans folks have to appease psychological professionals to receive treatment. This however does not equate to pathology.

          Yes, some individuals are born intersex. This doesn’t mean that they identify as a 3rd gender. Throughout the human and animal worlds, gender is very, very binary, and those who are ambiguous about being perceived as not fitting in with a gender usually try very hard to fit with one or the other, and why shouldn’t they. It’s fine to be fluid in ones gender, or not identify as one particular gender, and yes, medically things do go awry. But this 3rd gender status can be used as a cudgel to separate and pathologise gender variant individuals who may very well wish to identify as simply male/female.

          1. Hey Nell, take a step back and breath and I think you’ll see that we’re all basically agreeing here.

            I am a transwoman and though I myself do identify as binary female I know many people who do not. I have come to believe that as far as transfolk go being binary is more the exception than the rule – but most choose one or the other so that they can fit into the binary society so wants to force us into.

            What we are saying about the ‘pathology’ thing is this. Being trans is NOT a pathology, but it has been medically designated as one.
            And of course we have the difficulty of not being able to reject the medical community because we need them for hormones and surgery. ;)

            And lastly, yes I agree that if you labeled All transfolk as a third gender that would be very very wrong. But it seems to me that this would be a choice to label yourself, and many people I know would love to have that Choice.

      2. “Trans people’s gender is NOT surgically and chemically created, it is innate, set at birth by foetal hormones, as is everyone’s gender equally set by the same mechanism. The correct and accurate expression of that innate and inherent gender requires medical effort.” – This is unsubstantiated ideology, and no more basis in science than the idea that little girls are made of “Sugar and spice, and everything nice.”

        1. It’s not unsubstantiated, and it’s not ideology. The mounting scientific evidence points to biology and congenital conditions. Please educate yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_transsexualism#Biological-based_theories

          1. Theories, Neil, theories. If you are going to trawl wikipedia, of all places, for information, try to be open about ALL the theories, some of which are not biological but psychological and behavioural…
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_transsexualism#Psychological_and_behavioral_theories

    2. Hey Joe, I need to point out that you are confusing Gender and Sex.
      Gender is innate and you are born with it, it is your sense of self and cannot be changed – it is what closeted trans people try to deny. Sex is the thing that is surgically and chemically changed.
      Also I really hope you can understand that a trans person like me has the right to be identified as female with no exemptions. I would never let someone call me a third gender any more than I would let them call me a man.

      1. I know all about the difference between Gender and sex, and have read all the reports and ideologically driven science ad nauseum. Nothing convinces me that anyone is born with a gender in the way you and other claim. Gender is a social construct and therefore cannot be “in born”.

        1. Joe, I think you should have a really good look at todlers to see how boys and girls differ in how they act and react. As you see that with very young children, I would say it is enough proof that the different programming is clearly biological.

          And your theory was the same as Money had when he had a boy where they botched circumcision surgically altered into a girl and had her fully socialised as a girl named Brenda… She rebelled against this, and finally was told his history. Look for the John-Joan case.

          There is other evidence from intersex people surgically altered as babies where they clearly decided to designate these people to the sex that was not congruent with their gender programming.

          Yes, clothing, and quite a few other things that are socially associated with one of the presumed binary gender roles is indeed your ‘social construct’.

        2. Really Joe, how do you explain transgender people like myself who feel the need to change their sex in order to match their gender if it’s all a social construct?
          I mean yes, the gender binary (gender is actually more of a spectrum) and many things about gender (clothing, many behaviors, colors) are a social construct; but gender itself is definitely real.
          Do you not yourself have some feeling of gender? If you suddenly became female would you not have any issues other than social ones? If so then you are lucky to be more gender fluid than most of the world.
          And here is the John/Joan case that Angela mentioned: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reimer

          1. “Really Joe, how do you explain transgender people like myself who feel the need to change their sex in order to match their gender if it’s all a social construct?”

            In the same way I’d explain those poor souls who feel the need to have a limb amputated because they “really feel” it shouldn’t be there…

  7. In india n pakistan , they have history of hijra culture. They traditionally did blessings/curses/begging and hooking to survive. Although persecuted , they are not as despised as gay men . Trans/inter/3rd sex peoples are generally allowed to live in muslim countrys probably because they provide sexual service for men who are segregated from women outside family etc. Even in iran if a gay man goes to get cured he is forced to become transexual or die as that is barely tolerable but being a gay man is considered vile.

  8. David Allan 28 Apr 2011, 6:54am

    This story appeared on 23 December 2009 by Reuters IN “Pakistan’s transvestites to get distinct gender” http://in.reuters.com/article/2009/12/23/us-pakistan-transvestites-idINTRE5BM2BX20091223

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