Monday, 29 December 2008

Look east, Benedict!

Shortly after the Pope spouted his nonsense about the end of the world being the result of "gender indeterminism" - I exaggerate slightly but not by much - the traditionally conservative Moslem country of Bangla Desh has taken a step towards acceptance of difference. For the first time in the country's history the 100,000 "hijras" - transexuals, both pre and post-operative- will be allowed to vote. The full story is here.

This is not without its problems, however, since voters at the polling stations are separated by sex. There is no third line. Where do transexuals fit in within this rigid binary division? A division, after all, that the Pope sees as essential to human survival. The solution here has has been purely pragmatic. An official said:
We thought long and hard about it but eventually decided that hijras must go to the line that we think suits them best. The more feminine ones will be in the ladies' line while the ones who seem more manly will be in with the men.

This is far from ideal but i cannot see how it could have been done in any other way - given the cultural imperative to keep men and women separate. It does lead to some interesting questions, however. If, as the official says, the division will be made simply on external appearance, that very well lead to female born women of conventionally "unfeminine" appearance being directed to the line marked "men". I can see that causing a few problems. Just as many of the hijras may also feel upset at being so directed. But praise is due to Bangla Desh for thus extending the franchise.

Benedict, people just do not fit into the boxes you find so admirable and necessary. Are you sorry that your old organisation, The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, no longer has the power it once wielded to enforce uniformity? Life was so simple then, wasn't it?


muzuzuzus said...

Yes. the dichotomy of THe 'woman' and
the 'man' hey?

Not many know in this digitally retouched, plastic studio-set reality matrix, where kids are dragged up to believe the TV, films and magazines are the 'reality', realize some women can be as hairy as men if not constantly being on alert and cosmetically removing the evidence
And I have to admit that this--when revealed/allowed-- can have a physical effect on people.

It did me at art school, when the girl in the year above me wore this very frilly girly frock and yet had very hairy legs. I felt physically sick. Because I associate hairy legs with males. But it is natural isn't it? lol

Brian Charles said...

I am sorry that you had such a response and thanks for your honesty in revealing it. And yet for some this seems a turn-on - there is a whole genre of porn that caters for them. Again a reminder that human beings are infinitely diverse.

I am reminded of Frida Kahlo's moustache in this regard and will post a picture later.