This Blog is for YOU...

If you are/were Gender Dysphoric - so as to know some from me and share some with me, and reaffirm that none of us is alone... To acknowledge that we have a treasure of insurmountable Courage, Strength and Hope in us. I have a feeling that we were given slightly higher quantities of those special gifts :-) [If you have a question to ask me, you could write it as a Comment to one of the posts, and either I would reply to it as a Comment itself, or probably, respond in one of the future posts on this blog]

If you have never been Gender Dysphoric - so as to understand what it means to have a Gender Identity Disorder. Of course, it primarily depends on whether you want to or not. If you don't, please do make a quiet exit and try not to be a nuisance.

If you're confused - so as to realize that everybody goes through a stage of confusion - the period could be short, or sometimes, very long. What is important is to acknowledge that being unsure until you're sure is as normal and as alright as night before day.

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If you're a human being - so as to find out for yourself whether you want to try to make the world a better place to live in, for every fellow human being, irrespective of their health, wealth, colour, race, gender, religion and any and every other line of division you can think of.

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And finally, this blog is for ME - so as to be able to make some difference somewhere by sharing my experiences, and along the way, slowly grow out of those anxieties and insecurities that have inhabited my life for over 2 decades. It is time to escort them to the door now!

Come, Join me on this journey!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Other Side


As I hastened to look presentable for a meeting this morning, running up and down from the bathroom to the closet and back, I involuntarily stopped upon noticing one of the front-page headlines of The Times of India lying hitherto unnoticed on the couch. It said – “EC gives transsexuals, eunuchs a distinct ID”. All else forgotten, I sat down and read the whole piece. And found myself face to face with the perennial question that anybody with a history of gender change has to confront, time and again.

So, the Election Commission of India has decided to give transsexuals and eunuchs an option of choosing “Others” as their gender instead of having to fit themselves in the archaic two-gender scenario. A welcome move, says the paper.

My initial reaction, to be frank, was – What the hell! Others? OTHERS?? Men, Women and those OTHERS! It sounded demeaning and exclusive. Through the day, however, I have come to think that it is probably a politically correct term for anybody and everybody who doesn’t identify with the ‘M’ and the ‘F’. Instead of calling it ‘The Third Gender’ or ‘Transsexual’ or ‘Eunuch’, ‘Others’ could be looked at as more of an umbrella term for all these.

My real worry, though, was something else. I wondered whether this new term would also be applied to, or forced upon people who have been through Sex Reassignment to actually fit themselves in the archaic two-gender system; which essentially, on a most personal level, boiled down to – What social identity are they going to give me, or if so be it, thrust upon me? A ‘Female’ or an ‘Other’? Are they going to consider the fact that I was always ‘Gender Dysphoric’, and hence, my mental gender always ‘Female’, not to forget, the present physical gender too? Or are they merely going to look at the technical aspects of my having been born a male child and choosing to forego that gender? Are they going to realize that I have been a woman all my life? Or would they snigger and hand me a piece of paper declaring that I need to go and stand in the ‘other’ queue? Is my gender going to be decided by who I declare myself to be? Or are they going to keep that power in their own hands?

Just to make my stand clear here, I acknowledge and respect an individual’s right to choose to not belong to either of the two mainstream genders, and hence, demand for a legal identity as the third gender. It is only fair that a human being be given the freedom to assert their own identity, and that there be a system to acknowledge that. But going by the same logic, a transsexual person or a eunuch must also be free to choose ‘Female’ or ‘Male’ as their gender if that’s who they are, surgery or no surgery. ‘Others’ should certainly be an option, not a compulsion.

Giving the Indian system its due credit, I have had very little, if any, trouble in getting my official identification documents altered as per my new physical gender. Driving license and Passport are through already, while PAN card is in the process of application. On a personal level, I have never felt a need for activism for any rights, because I haven’t felt that any rights are missing for me. I know of transpeople who are legally married in India, so clearly, marriage rights are not a problem either. All said and done, however taboo a sex change might be for the Indian society, at least the law doesn’t seem to have anything against it.

Which is why the EC move left me numb this morning. It was a feeling of helplessness, given by a fear that my right to choose my identity might be filched away. It is all fine and idealistic to think that whatever they do and say cannot affect my real self, but then, I cannot deny the feeling of unbridled joy when my surgeon gave me a certificate declaring me ‘Female’, nor the ecstasy of looking at my beautiful new Passport next to the old one stamped ‘Void’.

And so, I finished my meetings, rushed home and sat on the internet, looking for more information on the matter. And to my relief, what I gathered from the news stories was that ‘Others’ is a choice available to transpeople and eunuchs if they wish to use it, but ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ are just as much open as choices too! A couple of links:

http://netindian.in/news/2009/11/12/0004041/transsexuals-can-indicate-sex-other-electoral-rolls

http://sify.com/news/Eunuchs-to-indicate-their-gender-as-39-other-39-Election-Commission-news-jlmwEcfccgh.html


Yes yes, I agree with you, The Times of India. A welcome move, indeed!

18 comments:

  1. It was also mentioned in the TOI...Others was available as a choice and not by compulsion

    I hope you haven't lost your sleep over this :)

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  2. Oh, I guess I missed that in the hurry and the worry. But losing sleep doesn't happen with me, you see. I can sleep even on a bush of thorns. :) Thanks, nevertheless!

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  3. I am diagnosed with gid & on hrt for 6 months now.i am 5 yrs married with 2 kids and a very supportive spouse.i am really worried abt my marriage status and my wife is into depression too not bcz of my gid but bcz of this legal issue in india.i plan srs mid-next year.plz help if any info u can provide.also how u went for educational certificates and voter id changed.i live in bangalore.plz help.can u meet us personally or help us thru some support group.

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  4. Susanne - Please don't worry, and tell your wife not to worry either. There is no legal issue. The EC has just given 'Others' as a choice. It won't be forced upon you. If you choose 'Female', they will grant you the same in your ID.

    Any kind of information about my SRS is available on this blog. Please read through the posts. Regarding changing the certificates etc, well, I haven't bothered to change my educational certificates, because I didn't see any need for it. I have a name change proof, so if I need to submit those certificates somewhere, I'll submit along with this proof. I'm yet to apply for a Voter's ID, so, I'm sorry I can't offer you much help there.

    I'm not attached to any support group as such. And I'm sorry but I do not meet anyone personally, just like that. However, there is a yahoo group called Sampoorna which you can join to share your issues and seek answers from others (besides me). There is a moderator, who would ascertain your eligibility to join the group before he gives you a permission to be on it.

    Before I close, I must congratulate you and your wife on having such an understanding relationship. You must know that you have a rare partner. Please give my warm regards to her. And you take care. Try not to worry too much. Things will turn out just fine... All the best!

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  5. Hi Gazal ,thanx a lot for replying in detail.I am definitely blessed by God to have my wife & no word can express that fully.She is a saint who has helped me to be true to myself but I feel for her as she left many people who mattered to her, bcz of me, without her fault.Nonetheless,we r happy together & plan to explain to kids in proper manner though they r ok as of now.I plan dr.chettawut & wd like to know wht is proper for body hair removal according to u.i m going for laser for face but for other parts its too expensive.Also,for name change do u personally go to SDM or its done by those LLB-cum-agents sitting outside.I don't intend to be 'OTHERS' as i am a beautiful woman and i know it for sure.I only worry what my marriage staus wd be in docu. like property,marriage cert & kids school etc.if u can provide any info I wd b highly obliged.mov a lot bcz of wrk so cant really get evrythng on my own at times.My wife just loves you .Infact she told me of u after watching some show on tv.bless you.love,susanne

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  6. Hi Susanne, please thank your wife on my behalf, and let her know that I truly admire her love and courage.

    As far as body hair removal is concerned, yes, laser is very expensive, but that is the only option for permanent removal as of now. If you don't want to go for it, you can use an epilator on a regular basis. With your anti-androgens and regular epilation, you will see that the body hair begin to thin down and growth becomes lesser over a period of time.

    About your marriage status and documents etc are concerned, as far as I know, there is no precedent in our law about this. So, you might have to tuggle a bit here and twist a bit there and find your own way around things. Ideally, I wouldn't think you can claim to be your wife's 'husband' anymore in papers, because that would need for you to be 'Male'. It will be a tedious journey probably, but from my experience, the Indian official and legal systems are silent in this area, which generally helps in cases like this. All the best! Take care.

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  7. Dear Gazal,

    Great blog! Your stories are very powerful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing your stories with us.

    We are an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community support and resource website based in Chennai. We are putting together a resource page for TG re-documentation in India. Would you be able to answer some of our questions? We would be happy to credit you for the information and provide a link to your blog as well. Please let us know.

    You can reach us at orinamwebber@gmail.com

    Many thanks!

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  8. Hi gazal, we r missin ur presence on this blog...hope u r still there to share more things..

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  9. Hi gazal, how r u...no sign of u...i guess u r busy readin ur tiny tales...hmm..saw ur talk for ink...it was again good like the previous ones...but salam zindagi was best...it directly touched the heart...yup tellin stories can help...n hope it does...to help people to seek truth n accept it wd courage...right wish to c back to this blog...which is seekin ur long awaited attention...

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  10. Hi gazal, no sign of you...i guess u r busy readin tiny tales...saw ur talk for ink...it was impressive...yes sometimes tellin stories do help...hope these stories reach people..n give them courage to b who they r....n i hope also that these blog...also receive some of ur most awaited attention

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  11. Hi gazal, no sign of you...i guess u r busy readin tiny tales...saw ur talk for ink...it was impressive...yes sometimes tellin stories do help...hope these stories reach people..n give them courage to b who they r....n i hope also that these blog...also receive some of ur most awaited attention

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  12. Hallo gazal...how r u...this blog is missin ur response....we r missin ur opinions..please say somethin atleast

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  13. Hi gazal...how r u?

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  14. hello gazal di.. i am an eleventh grade student. i think i am gay.. i want to ask you how difficult is it to come out socially and face d mad people who still make ur fun out dere (well there must be some). and u know, i hv always been wanting to be a girl- and have most of the interests lyk girls. were u lyk dat only?
    But i am quite upset, unsure and nervous with d fact of letting it out to my parents. It is d most tuff job to get dis surgery i feel. it wld not only be expensive but also wld be difficullt to accept. please tell me more abt this- the expense? and i hv somewhere heard if a person cums out from a male to a female, he can not reproduce. i really want to hv a family. anyways, please give me more info on dis and counsel me..PLEASE...HELP ME..

    and one more thing, i ve had girlfriends but always fr emotional support n hv nver had any sexual attraction towards a female.
    what to do? i am unsure and confused... whether to be a gay boy or transform n change my gender. Secondly, when to open d whole thing out to my parents. please help out

    i hv surfd the net n obsrvd that transformation demands maintenance n leads to pain..i really m fed up of ol dis..
    n i cant empowermyself to get rady to be accepted socially..
    moreover concentrating on studies is ever difficult job for me. u r my last hope, di pls help

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  15. Hey gender and sexuality are different, if you are transgender you can be gay too, gay men feel like male not female,if you feel like a boy then you are boy or visa verse , see caitlyn jenner she likes woman and is transgender,and gender identity has nothing to do with behavior,many gays dress up,makeup but they identify as male,its about your identity.

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  16. Hi gazal how r u?....i really want to tak to you..ask many questions..but becoz of some stupid people...who post rubish on this blog...those who really want to hav decsent tak ...hav to suffer

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Civility check done? :-)