Understanding Where the Transgender Population Stands Within Cultures


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  • Understanding Where the Transgender Population Stands Within Cultures

    1. 1. Understanding Where the Transgender Population Stands Within Cultures Created by Alix Rich
    2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>This presentation will look at broader cultural and historical views on the transgender population within: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sweden </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The United Kingdom </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Portugal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Israel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ukraine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New Zealand and Australia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Japan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Norway </li></ul></ul><ul><li>All the information on these specific countries is based on Tarynn Witten’s article </li></ul><ul><li>“ Transgender and Transsexuality” from the Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Men </li></ul><ul><li>and Women in the World’s Cultures, Volume 1 . </li></ul><ul><li>Then a deeper look into Southeast Asia while understanding where transgenderism has its place in cultures and societies. This part of the presentation is focused on the article, “Transgenderism and Gender Pluralism in Southeast Asia since Early Modern Times” written by Michael G. Peletz. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>Transgender first appeared in ancient cultures. But with the rise of Judeo-Christianity gender identity became a concept that was based around being either male or female, a third sex was not acknowledged. </li></ul><ul><li>There has been a lot of confusion to what gender , sex , and sexuality really are and who defines it. </li></ul><ul><li>Gender identity is a something that a person defines themselves based on their own experience. </li></ul><ul><li>How would you define your own gender identity? Sex? Or Sexuality? </li></ul>
    4. 4. Introduction: What is Sex, Gender and Sexuality? <ul><li>Sex is the concept in which when you are born and the doctor says, “it’s a girl or it’s a boy” based on your genitals. This type of strict labeling of what sex is, is the Judeo-Christian method. </li></ul><ul><li>Gende r does not involve who you are biologically but rather defines a person based on who they feel they are as a person inside, a man, a woman or something in between. </li></ul><ul><li>Sexuality is the expression of erotic or sexual behavior and experiences. </li></ul>But wait there is one more symbol…
    5. 5. Introduction: Transgender, Transexuality and Intersex <ul><li>Transgender is defined as having a gender identity that is different from the sex you were born with. </li></ul><ul><li>Transsexuality fits into the same definition as Transgender </li></ul><ul><li>Intersex means that a person is born with genitals that aren’t just male or female. </li></ul><ul><li>T.V show clip to consider watching from Our America </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. oprah . com/own-our-america-lisa-ling/Transgender-Lives-Tans-Update </li></ul>
    6. 6. Determining the Sex of a Newborn Baby <ul><li>Every day in the United States, there are at least 5 surgeries that happen that are changing a person’s sex or non-dominant genitalia. </li></ul><ul><li>65,000 babies born every year are intersex </li></ul><ul><li>Some doctors choose on the newborn’s sex by what they seem most appropriate by what genitals are more dominant. </li></ul><ul><li>Labeling an intersex baby before the child is able to fully develop into who they are, could be harmful to the child’s gender identity as they grow. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Sex Reassignment Surgery <ul><li>3-9 million people in the U.S. have had sex reassignment surgery </li></ul><ul><li>More people have surgery from a female body to a male body </li></ul><ul><li>In France, there is a waitlist up to 5 years to have sex reassignment surgery </li></ul>
    8. 8. Sweden <ul><li>1972: Sweden passes a bill legalizing sex reassignment surgery </li></ul><ul><li>The National Board of Health and Welfare diagnoses transsexuals in order for them to have a publicly financed surgery. </li></ul><ul><li>With a large awareness of transgenderism, people seem to have more of an understanding and appreciation toward this population </li></ul><ul><li>There are more sex reassignment surgeries from male to female (MTF) </li></ul>
    9. 9. The United Kingdom <ul><li>In the 1940’s, UK surgeon Sir Harold Gillies performed some of the first sex reassignment surgeries. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>His first two patients were a transman Michael Dillon and a transwoman Roberta Cowell. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>During the 1960’s in London at the Charing Cross Hospital, psychiatrist John Randell created the first “gender identity clinic.” </li></ul><ul><li>Cross dressers are constantly in the media. Eddie Izzard is an actor, stand up comedian and dresses in drag. </li></ul>Eddie Izzard Michael Dillon Roberta Cowell
    10. 10. The United Kingdom <ul><li>There are still some issues concerning the UK’s legal system, once someone undergoes sex reassignment surgery they are not permitted to change their birth certificate to state their new sex. This means that it is illegal to marry someone of their same sex. </li></ul><ul><li>There are many activist groups and support groups that have been created. Some of these groups that started in the 1960’s are still running today like the Beaumont Society and FTM Network. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some sites to explore </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.april-ashley.com/home.html </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.beaumontsociety.org.uk/index.html </li></ul></ul>April Ashley- still thought of as a man on her birth certificate If the surgery is legal why restrict these people from becoming the person they truly are?
    11. 11. April Ashley Interview on the BBC <ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjA9zdIYruU&NR=1 </li></ul>Click the link below to watch her interview
    12. 12. Portugal <ul><li>1984: changing your gender identity became legal </li></ul><ul><li>In 1996 Portugal finally made sex reassignment surgery legal but in order to go through this surgery people needed the authorization from the Portugal Medical Order (PMO). </li></ul><ul><li>The evaluation process could take up to 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>There is very little known about the transgender population in Portugal </li></ul><ul><li>A myth the country holds: people think the transgender population are prostitutes, strippers or act out in drag shows. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Portugal <ul><li>In a recent study, researchers were able to ask 50 transgender volunteers about their lives. </li></ul><ul><li>-86% are sex workers </li></ul><ul><li>-30% are HIV positive </li></ul><ul><li>-61% stated that they always use condoms </li></ul><ul><li>-70% have a substance abuse problem. </li></ul><ul><li>(most of these individuals had to move away from their hometown because of their sexual orientation) </li></ul><ul><li>Changing your name to fit your new gender identity is rather simple but the name must be appropriate to your first sex or the name should be gender neutral. </li></ul><ul><li>Many Portuguese transsexuals go to Morocco or England to have sex reassignment surgery but sometimes end up facing the consequences of an unsanitary surgery. </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you think Portugal has such limited information about the transgender population? </li></ul>
    14. 14. The Israeli Experience <ul><li>The Israeli Center for Human Sexuality and Gender Identity conducted a survey on the transgender population between 1997-2001 and concluded: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>86 participants (67 genetically male and 19 genetically female) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ages 8-71 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>65% single, 23% married and 12% divorced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>52% college graduate (42% graduate degrees), 24% high school diploma and 16% no high school diploma </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sex reassignment surgery is free once someone undergoes an evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Accepting views on the transgender population but have somewhat strict feminine and masculine gender norms. </li></ul>
    15. 15. The Israeli Experience <ul><li>Dana International, one of Israel’s most famous pop stars and known for being a transsexual. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Ukraine <ul><li>Some holidays involve dressing like the opposite sex </li></ul><ul><li>Schomorochs - performing artists that are perceived to be transgender. </li></ul><ul><li>Queen Olga wanted the women of her country to become educated and so the role of women in the household began to shift </li></ul><ul><li>During the Soviet period people who were homosexual or transgender were thought to have a psychiatric disorder </li></ul><ul><li>1994: legalized sex reassignment surgery </li></ul>
    17. 17. New Zealand and Australia <ul><li>Their common two approaches: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One - sex is determined at birth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two - sex has the ability to change through sex reassignment surgery </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Famous case: Kevin and Jennifer v. Attorney-General for the Commonwealth of Australia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>undergoing sex reassignment surgery is important for being able to marry someone of the same sex. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kevin just had a breast reduction and a complete hysterectomy and was still able to marry Jennifer after their trial, because Kevin was now considered a male. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marked a major step in the transgender movement toward equality . </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Japan <ul><li>1969: a gynecologist performed three MTF illegal sex reassignment surgeries and was found guilty during the trial. </li></ul><ul><li>1998: first legal sex reassignment surgery </li></ul><ul><li>Saitama Medical College and Okayama University Hospital are the only clinics in Japan that perform this type of surgery. </li></ul><ul><li>Between 1998-2002: 1,000 transsexuals went into the clinics, 20 people have had the surgery between that time. </li></ul><ul><li>About 500 postoperative transsexuals in Japan </li></ul><ul><li>Although the surgery is legal however registering for a new sex is almost impossible. </li></ul><ul><li>Postoperative: people have had sex reassignment surgery. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Japan <ul><li>Movie clip about Shinjuku boys, women living as men. </li></ul><ul><li> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJTLai1cz-4 </li></ul>
    20. 20. Norway <ul><li>1968: FPE-NE was created, an organization for transpeople </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By 2002 FPE-NE had 142 members </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2002: LFTS formed with 3 purposes in mind </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One : large increase in the want for sex reassignment surgery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two : creating equality for the transgender population to be able to express themselves in public </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Three : bringing the transgender population together </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>120 members but not economically supported by the state </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ All About My Father”- Award winning Norwegian documentary (picture on right is from the movie) </li></ul><ul><li>For more information on the movie </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. imdb .com/title/tt0310622/ </li></ul>
    21. 21. Now Time to Look into One Particular Region: Southeast Asia We will be analyzing transgenderism in the ancient culture and how it is viewed today in those societies, taking into consideration what has led to today’s beliefs.
    22. 22. Southeast Asia: Early Modern Times <ul><li>15th and 16th century </li></ul><ul><li>Gender roles were very fluid </li></ul><ul><li>During births, weddings and other important rituals, it was common for men to dress in women’s clothing. </li></ul><ul><li>Male bodied bissu: dress in female clothing and would have sexual relations or marriage with the same sex. </li></ul><ul><li>Many deities portrayed an androgynous body or one that was paired with a woman and man-always exerting some type of equality and balance. </li></ul><ul><li>Many interpretations of these practices were done by Europeans, so there is potential for a biased opinion in these documentations. </li></ul>Bissus
    23. 23. Southeast Asia: Early Modern Times <ul><li>Philippines: female ritual specialist did not dress in male clothing or come across as masculine </li></ul><ul><li>In Burma, Thailand, the Philippines, Java, Bali and areas of Borneo had practices that involved putting metal bells, balls and pins into men’s penises. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many say this practice was created by a queen who wanted to increase women’s pleasure and also break the “addiction to sodomy.” </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Southeast Asian: Second Half of Early Modern Time <ul><li>17th and 18th century </li></ul><ul><li>Spaniards: brought the generalized idea of gender roles and a concrete view of feminine and masculine behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Major religions started spread in this region such as Islam in Bugis which had a large impact on the bissu population. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They started to push them out society and their culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An example of the power one culture could have or another one </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why was this ancient culture so vulnerable to change? </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. Southeast Asia <ul><li>Hijra- India’s name for physiological males that feel and dress like women. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Very much a part of India’s pop culture today </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Clip from a National Geographic show on Hijras/Eunuchs </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. youtube .com/watch?v=mC-k27Kvtrw </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the video, the hijras/eunuchs are placed into their own spot in society (neighborhoods and jobs) but yet they are considered to give one of the highest blessings. </li></ul></ul>
    26. 26. Southeast Asia: Second Half of Early Modern Times <ul><li>20th century: the homosexual and transgender population continued to be degraded by their own culture </li></ul><ul><li>If transgender or homosexual relationships were made public then society would assume “Don’t ask, don’t tell” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Don’t ask, don’t tell”: making it a secret and gives the perception that this isn’t the “right way” to be. </li></ul><ul><li>Bali (1930’s): main-main: form of same sex sexual play but not thought of as serious. </li></ul><ul><li>In Vietnam there was said to be “hermaphroditic witches” who were healers since their childhood. </li></ul><ul><li>Note: transgenders thought of as healers in India and Vietnam, if they are healers, why are they being oppressed? They are a crucial part of their culture. </li></ul>
    27. 27. Burma Since the 1960’s <ul><li>Foreigners attempted to colonize, but the state tried to preserve their ancient culture </li></ul><ul><li>The country faced geopolitical isolation which created economic turmoil </li></ul><ul><li>Transgender: nat kadaw and acault </li></ul><ul><li>1980’s-1990’s transgender and homosexuality still had an important role in the culture and was accepted in society </li></ul><ul><li>Some shamans possess a form of bisexuality and same sex sexual relations were sometimes viewed as sacred </li></ul><ul><li>7 day festival, celebrating nat kadaws </li></ul>Nat Kadaw
    28. 28. Malaysia Since the 1960’s <ul><li>Homosexuality accepted, there used to be specialized villages just for homosexual people. </li></ul><ul><li>Mak Young: transgender performers, also live in their own villages. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Institutionalized transgendering”: society having a tolerance or understanding of transgender. </li></ul><ul><li>Pondan: a man who acts and dresses like a woman. They also help plan weddings and are there for the bride to help her on wedding day. </li></ul><ul><li>Video clip of a Pondan performance </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. youtube .com/watch? v=gqXHrIyANBA </li></ul>
    29. 29. Modern Java <ul><li>There are no laws against homosexuality or sexual relations with the same sex </li></ul><ul><li>Islamic extremist groups: Laskar Jihad and Laskar Pembela Islam: have made attacks on homosexual organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Filipino President Marcos was outspoken about who a man should be based on strength from the body. </li></ul><ul><li>These ideas of who a man should be are difficult for the transgender population to incorporate because of the strictness way of being either man or woman. </li></ul>
    30. 30. Conclusion <ul><li>Many countries share common themes concerning transgenderism such as making it difficult for some to acquire sex reassignment surgery or have a new name. </li></ul><ul><li>Then there is a country like Norway, one that is more flexible and encompassing of all genders. </li></ul><ul><li>Almost every country had some form of ritual or tradition that had a presence of transgenderism or involved people dressing and acting like the opposite sex. </li></ul><ul><li>In Western cultures, there is more media and public display of people dressing in drag rather than people who are transgender. </li></ul><ul><li>Have you heard or seen transgenderism in the media lately or ever? </li></ul><ul><li>Why has this third sex been so hidden? </li></ul>
    31. 31. Conclusion <ul><li>Southeastern Asian cultures were formed around having the third gender always part of their life. </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to note the contrast between Western Cultures and Eastern cultures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why does one have more power or control than the other one? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Then there is a place like Burma, who strayed away conformity but faced economic turmoil </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this fair that someone who doesn’t adhere to norms be challenged harder than someone who does? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A connection between Burma and the transgender populations, both staying true to who they are but burdened by being different. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    32. 32. Bibliography <ul><li>Peletz, Michael G. (2003). Transgenderism and Gender Pluralism in Southeast Asia since Early Modern Times. Current Anthropology 47, no. 2, 309-340. </li></ul><ul><li>Witten, Tarynn et tal. (2003). Transgender and Transsexuality. In Ember (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Men and Women in the World’s Cultures, Volume 1 . (pp. 216-228). New York, NY: Springer. </li></ul>