The Brave And Difficult Lives Of Indian Transgender Women
[T]ransgender women [called Hijras] still face discrimination as it has been traditionally rejected in India’s typically conservative culture — more than 90 percent leave their biological families and most move to big cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune.
“They are well accustomed to being judged and labelled as freaks, the diseased and the troubled ones by society. As a result, their only chances for them to get by and make a living is through prostitution and begging,” says photographer Fadaian. […]
“They all work as a team to organize the community. Anyone who wants to join the Hijra community must be accepted and sponsored by the Guru or godmother of the house who is the teacher and mother of all. […] It is a woman’s world involving a combination of Hindu and Muslim cultures”
- 94% of trans* people reported an improvement in their life quality after transition.
- 96% answered that their wellbeing improved.
- 85 % described their emotional stability improved (11 reported no change)
The Mandy and Eva Photo Project
For her series ‘Mandy and Eva’, Dutch photographer Willeke Duijvekam documented the lives of two transgender girls over a period of six years.
Both girls were born male, and the series explores their attemps to reconcile their gender with their female identity.
Duijvekam’s lens follows the two girls as they go about their lives, quietly observing their daily activities as they undergo an internal transformation to become confident young women.
Her understated photographs are published in a book, which presents Mandy and Eva’s stories in reverse chronological order. The two girls are depicted together in each other’s spreads to show the interlocking of their lives.
Have you noticed how hard it is for some people to accept that sexuality and gender identity can be both ambiguous and overlapping? It is as if their own identity is threatened if someone seems to be moving out of the box.
In this comic the gay man Bill Roundy presents the reactions he got from both straight and gay people when he started dating gay trans men.
You can read the complete series over at Bill Roundy’s blog.
This comic is part of the Anything That Loves anthology from Northwest Press, along with work from about 30 other cartoonists.
Much of the conflicts found in gay, queer and transgender communities are based on a weak understanding of intersectionality. As soon as someone have found their identity (their “triangle”), they start policing the definition of that identity, in order to keep “the striped ones” out.
This explain the aggression found against bisexuals in some gay and lesbian circles. “You are a homsexual in denial!” “You are a straight woman in disguise!” “You are not one of us!”
This also explains the truscum transsexual separatist aggression to queer and questioning transgender people: “You are not a real trans!” “You are a delusional special snowflake!”
What they really say is: “Your ambiguity threatens my vulnerable sense of self. Climb back into the closet right now and stop reminding me that there is no clear cut binary!”
By doing so they undermine effective alliances between different tribes of oppressed minorities, and they also invalidate the ones who do not belong to one tribe only.
Nature does not care about our distinctions between straight and gay, cis and straight, regardless of how we define these concepts. Reality is a messy and fuzzy mash up of an insane number of variables.
Some trans women do not transition. Some people move from identifying as straight or gay to identifying as bisexual. Some straight or bisexual women do experience the sexual orientation of a gay man. They might be cis, they might be trans. To force them into the narrow boxes of traditional sex and gender stereotypes is to stop them from growing as unique and creative human beings.
Brothers is a web series about young trans men: their lives and loves, joys and sorrows. The Advocate writes:
Brothers, written and directed by trans filmmaker Emmett Lundberg, follows the ups-and-downs of a fictional group of four trans-masculine friends in Brooklyn, NY. Each “brother” is facing a tipping point in his life, from Davyn’s marriage proposal to Aiden and Max’s different journeys toward chest reconstruction surgery to Jack’s unanticipated attraction to other men. […]
Lundberg was intentional about casting only transgender actors and about creating a show that addresses trans men’s experiences in a way he hasn’t seen elsewhere. “I’ve reached a place in my own transition where I’m starting to settle into who I am, and to who I will be, so I wanted to see that on screen,” he explains. […]
“I have always been frustrated by the lack of trans-masculinity in the media and I thought it was so great that someone finally took it into their own hands to create a series about the trans* male experience,” summarizes Krakowski in a cast interview. He, and the other cast members, all report that the buzz surrounding Brothers has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Psychiatry is responsible for creating the heterosexual in largely the same way that it is responsible for creating the various categories of sexual deviance that we are familiar with and recognize and define ourselves in opposition to. The period lasting from the late Victorian era to the first 20 or 30 years of the 20th century was a time of tremendous socioeconomic change, and people desperately wanted to give themselves a valid identity in this new world order. One of the ways people did that was establish themselves as sexually normative. And it wasn’t the people who were running around thinking, “Oh, I’m a man and I like to sleep with other men, that makes me different,” who were creating this groundswell of change; it was the other people, the men who were running around going, “I’m not a degenerate, I don’t want to sleep with other men, I am this thing over here that is normative and acceptable and good and not pathological and right, that’s what I am. That’s what I need people to understand about me, because I need people to understand that I am a valid person and I need to be taken seriously.””
The article presents Hanne Bank’s fascinating book Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Hetrosexuality.
The point here is not that gays and lesbians do not exist, but that the definitions created by sexist and bigoted scientists are far too narrow to catch the true diversity of sex, gender and love.