Sunday, February 22, 2009

REARRANGING THE THORN

"You can see a difference" he said "Their asses are much flatter"

The rest of us looked out of window into the street to check out the 'asses' of some of the people standing there in their skimpy outfits, but because of the dark and the slight drizzle nothing was obvious, but we took his word for it.

So, that said... how many years does it take for a man to turn into a woman?

The recent popularity of a particular networking site here in Malaysia has enabled me to reconnect with people whom I once knew, some I've lost contact with from 17 years ago, and some as recent as 6 years. While it is heartening to know that most of them still remember me, it never fails to surprise you how many things and people have changed.

I knew M with a male name since 1998, we were in several classes together, and at that time his soft side was never very obvious. He still dressed in T-shirts tucked into his trousers - something no teenage girl in her right mind would have done at that time. Fast forward a few years later when we used to be in the lab conducting experiments for our thesis, his feminine side was so much more obvious - for one, his complexion was fantastic, and we girls used to comment - much better than ours, and he started dressing more like us, in fitted tops with jeans. The dress ruling for my faculty was very relaxed because we were way up on the mountain and no one cared. In a much more recent development, he informed me that he had been reborned. I can only guess what he meant by that. The few photos he put up on the networking site showed him with almost shoulder length hair wearing dresses and traditional Malay costumes, and sporting a new name, M - of a female kind.

Now, I know there is a huge stigma (well, at least here in M'sia) surrounding this whole issue of people being confused about their genders and so on, but I highly doubt that people do so on purpose. I remember some of our guy course mates used to be afraid of M and his friends (there were two others like him) and avoided them at all costs. Nevertheless, I do believe that sometimes, it is possible for people to be born in the wrong bodies. You're physically male, but deep down, you know you're a woman. The same goes for being physically a woman, but in reality you're all male. That's something that could be equally confusing as well as depressing. The thing is no matter how much you change physically, the people you once knew will always know that you were once a man or a woman depending on the situation, and it makes things much harder. What's really weird (and bothers me) is the fact that sometimes, some people go all the way out to make life even harder for them. From what I've heard, it's hard for them to get employment, seek acceptance into society and these only scratch the surface.

11 comments:

  1. Terra, Lama tak stop by. was abit bz:)

    Anyway, my uni also had many feminine guys, especially in my hostel as it's hundred percent male hostel. Some of them may feel that they were born into a wrong body(gender wise). But, many of them that I saw were fine when they entered first year. They usually changes exponentially after finding their other comrades. Well, I for one does not mind if that's what they want. But, what do you make of wearing a wig and dressing in clothes lesser than the actual clothes while parading around the whole hostel at midnite? And when they are in group, they dare to tease other guys in so called romantic voices.

    My conclusion was only a handful of people feels they were born into different body. But, the other remainings are actually doing it for fun and enjoying it.

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  2. I think you can only change the world by being yourself. It's always hard for the first people who choose to live a different way and it could be now or in 100 years. I guess M's trade off is being him/herself is worth the shit that comes with it, and the hope is the next generation find it easier.

    I don't know about you, but I've made plenty of choices that don't quite fit with the world around me but are better for me because I'm being true to myself.

    Gender is a very difficult issue. Sometimes I think we have too stringent ideas of gender rules, which makes it more difficult for people who feel different. Maybe if we were more relaxed about ideas of gender then some people wouldn't need to tag themselves as being so different.

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  3. Vivek: Thanks for your view on this. I've never lived with them seeing that I was in a girl's hostel.

    I noticed the same thing as well, actually, about how they seemed less feminine at first and progressively changed.

    Aunty: There are individuals who are open about issues of this sort, but society as a whole is pretty much judgemental, especially at issues regarding what's normal and what's not. Which is a pity...

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  4. Well, you never know you lived with them or not as they are more convincing nowadays. I have seen male who changed gender to female becomes prettier than the girls! Somehow, most of my female friends cannot differentiate whether its a gal or guy. We can find it out..Dunno why...maybe they used to be like us.

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  5. That's quite true... it is indeed difficult to differentiate them :)

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  6. You know, i've only seen such characters in movies. Have yet to come across someone in my life. So I don't know what to make of such a situation.

    I don't know whether I'd be accepting or avoiding? I don't think i'd be bad (since i'm a nice person) but it would definitely feel a little weird.

    Like do you hug her like you did when he was a guy or now do you respect the fact that she is a girl???

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  7. Never come across anyone like that, though I've met plenty of people uncomfortable with their bodies, a totally different issue, scary too though

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  8. Transgendered people definitely do not choose to be so. They believe with everything in them that they are in the wrong body. A man who feels he is a woman knows it with the same certainty that you know you are a woman. It has nothing to do with being gay, only with your sense of self in terms of gender. And it an agonizing thing, the only successful treatment being gender re-assignment surgery.

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  9. Rakesh: I've come across so many, but this is the only person I knew quite personally. Nevertheless, you do have a point about how to react to the other person in greeting. I'd say, let them make the first move :)

    Kartik: I know... I've wished to be a boy at times, but imagine having this internal conflict all the time!

    Citizen: Yeah, it must be... especially seeing that they actually take the trouble to go through it all.

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  10. This issue is way too complicated for me. I do my best to accept people as they are, which can be tough when they're not always sure who they are, for whatever reason. I've never met someone with this issue -to my knowledge- and I can't imagine how difficult it must be. I'm grateful to be basically comfortable in my own skin.

    And Terra, those opening comments must surely be some of the finest writing I've seen on a blog. You have a great turn of phrase, and ability to introduce a story.

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  11. I'm grateful to be basically comfortable in my own skin How true!

    Oh, and thank you for the compliment. You've got me blushing :)

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