Thursday, July 10, 2014

Simple manual

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A simple manual for transsexual empowerment part1 (If you read this you already empowered to come this far so congratulations and keep it that way
-first, for non-trans or cisgender people who read this, to really understand the issues you have to empty yourself, like what Bruce Lee? Or confucious says, in order to learn new things you to empty yourself, because if your glass is full you can't fill it with something new. Especially coming from Malaysia political climate, many were programme to instantly judge a person especially malaisean where since the 80s who's diet on the daily local television programmes and newspapers.
You must realized that if you think that the LGBTIQ are deviants thats because you consumed information without questioning its validity and living in denial because we're all around you and that's the reality, so the next step is to learn to accept and be peace with the reality or forever living in your bubble-like fantasy world and thats ok as long as you don't hurt anyone who you think is different and against your beliefs which is questionable because is it ok for your actions even is its purely negative?
I learn about human rights a bit too late after i'm working closely with several NGOs, but i think its crucial and its been refined for 'everyone'. I just wish its been taught school and other constitutions eventhough its impossible for malaisea because it will go against its ultra racial system, monarchy system, that favours certain section of the racial population and destroy borders inbetween human.
-Coming out / Keluar When i was young, both of my parents are very fierce so its hard for me to share my feelings. I'm not close to my relatives either and didn't know any transwomen from my town. So i bottled up whatever feelings i have inside. But i knew i was different. Everyday, every night i wish and pray i would wake up in the right body and i felt suicidal all the time. I wish i know someone who i can talk to. I felt suicidal most of the time. I grab a knife and wanted to cut my genitals very badly but was so scared to do it. I felt so desperate i grab whatever pills on my mom's make up table hoping they were birth control pills and swallowed them.
After i get to know and befriend some transwomen, went through gender and sexuality workshop, understand more of the local transwomen issues, then i felt empowered to contribute to the community eventhough they're many different types of transwomen community segregated by race, economy, looks, thoughts, beliefs, post/pre-op but mostly our the similarities are our struggles.
Like in Japan, i think its crucial to have a helpline. They have a helpline for people feeling suicidal. I still remember in Malaisea there was a helpline called Befriender who's willing to listen to any caller who need to talk to someone. But i wonder if they still have one now.
(when i stayed over my aunties house, didn't bring any spare clothes, after shower she force me to on my cousin's men long sleeve short. Every inch of my body felt so disgusted wearing it i almost cried and since then hated button clothes for as long as i remember.
Since young i'm ok with just wearing t-shirt and after that incident it took a long time even with the women's long sleeve shirt i tried to avoid buttons shirt and never owned one in my life, so i always wear just t-shirt.)
-Lack of information
-Trans 101 / SOGIE(Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) *experience (Philippines and Japan) In The Philippines, there are a few transwomen and transmen organizations that help the members of the trans community from different regions and areas. In the beginning there weren't any transmen group but there are a few transmen who's tagging along transwomen groups to learn from their activities and how they empower each other. Eventually a transman group was formed and then there's more and more groups formed for the needs of the community. Transwomen organization formulate the already available information on internet on Gender Identity and Sexual attraction, simplified them for the transwomen community to understand themselves more, this is crucial because some transwomen still using the word gay or bakla to describe themselves. Some proclaim the word 'Bakla' which is more for effiminate men and its not fitting for transwomen gender identity.
Beauty pageant is part of Filipinos culture and i was told that the event is held nearly everyday at every different district around the country. Its a fiesta, a community events that everyone looking up to and work together when they gathers like weddings but to some to celebrate the district's gathering and activities. The local municipal council often hired transwomen to work with and often besides beauty pageant, they also have a game of Bingo, karaoke, simple games event for the programmes. So from here you can witness there are many younger transchildren participating in this events and some proudly display their skills in English language and also doing costume design, stage or set design and make up skills.
In Japan, after a law has been passed in 2004 that a transwomen can go to doctor and diagnosed with GID or Gender Identity Disorder, she can proceed with hormones treatment, work towards her surgery and then change her legal documents and have no problem for employment, medical and also allowed to married her partner. (The problem with this system is there are transwomen who don't need the surgery, and for transwomen who transitioned later after her married with children than its impossible for them to change their legal documents)
-Who to contact (helpline service)
-the importance of having a support group
-join community activities workshop/civil law/syariah law/human rights/gender &sexuality workshop
-help online (mynetra) for job/medical/health information
-current issues (local/global) So far Penang is the only progressive state that in favours of trangender women. The local government, politician hired a transwoman for his assistant, and they also doing sensitization training in hospitals to educate the staff how to deal with transwomen patients or employees.
-any ideas?
*Coming out When i was young, there was no term like transsexual or transgender. But i know deep down inside i'm a girl/woman. There was no information or people i can talk to, because my parents were very fierce so i keep the lid tight.
Somehow how well you keep your feelings inside it will secretly manifest in the way our body language, the way we do things and most probably your parents will find out.
It is important to have information for the younger trans /children and also for their parents, so they don't kick their child because of lack of information and for their parents go safe face.
For parents if your child exhibit some traits or behavior of opposite *gender or birth sex, Don't worry this is perfectly normal.
-what is reansgender -SOGIE
*Who to contact Unfortunately in malaisea we dont have a helpline for younger trans to contact for help but what you can do is go seek for organization like PTFoundation who's main work is for AIDS and HiV awareness and prevention. But most community or trans people who go there also from the community so you can pay a visit and see the officers in charge and talk to them.
-If you dont have a supportive family cousins and friends. -During my time it was the birth of internet around 1999 where a lot of other trans share their stories and connect with other transgender people. I contact a local transwoman who shares her story on her website and she let me know about PTFoundation and we exchange information on hormones, surgeries and experience in life as a transwomen.
*Community empowerment workshop About your rights, human rights, civil law, syariah law, health issues, job opportunities, etc
-by going to the workshop and get to know your rights as a human being as a citizen and the syariah law for whos born in muslim family, how to deal with authority, getting to know others who attended the workshop, you will be empowered and shouldnt be scared to be who you truly are and express yourself freely
-there are a lot of information on gender and sexuality workshop, on internet but attending a workshop like i did, you will meet others and it will be a different experience altogether (Learning gender ands sexuality)
*Mynetra Is an online community for transwomen and transmen, a support group. Its sole purpose is to share information about job opportunity because trans community face alot of discrimination when it comes to finding job.
*Get to know issues pertaining trans* (personal diary) - meet first transwoman online', share information (PTfoundation ) (2000) - went to PTFoundation meet KakSu 2000 - attending Gender and sexuality workshop by Kryss 2008 - attending gender/sexuality workshop in Penang - civil / syariah law chitrah - attending seksualiti medeka workshop get to know more friends, allies, artists - volunteered at SM - volunteered at SM - Trace workshop (an empowerment workshop for transgender community) - making transzine (experience living as transwomen with malaisean political climate) - API scholarship August 2013- July 2014
*Current and local and international issues
-today news about Sweden, a person can change gender in identification without proof of surgeries,hormones,psychiatrict evaluations
- RuPaul in using the word Tranny and shemale

Thursday, June 26, 2014

akta/

Parez edit:

Yesterday I was at the Akta Community Centre, Shinjuku, to set up my exhibition. When I got there, I found that I couldn’t stick anything onto the wall. This could be a problem, I thought to myself. In the end, after much deliberation, I used hooks hanging from the ceiling to hang my artwork. Standing back and looking at the whole display, I felt a sense of pride because I did this all on my own.

Usually, I need lots of help from others, like for SG Bienalle last year. From the chairs, to the installation, to friends and curators who helped hang my artwork, that is a lot of outside help, but I did all myself this time, just by setting my mind to it. Start simple, I told myself. Things moved swiftly, with the help of two friends who pitched in. One help translate to Japanese, while the other helped me hang my artwork. I guess starting with a simple foundation makes it easier to develop and add on to the concept I had in mind. We would be done in no time, I thought.

While we were setting up, a woman came to the centre, and she spoke to Janji-san, who was a volunteer at the centre. Looking at her, I wondered if she was a transwoman, like me, or a crossdresser. In Japan, the crossdressing movement is huge, and there is a lot of visibility. There is an activist named Junko Mitsuhashi who is regularly invited to give talks and share her experience. She also writes articles about her life experience, as well as activities within the crossdresser community.

Contrary to popular belief, there is a huge difference between crossdressers and transwomen. The former does not experience what is medically known as gender identity disorder, or gender dysphoria – the feeling of being born with the wrong gender. For transwomen, the feeling of living in the body of the opposite ex is devastating. The suicide rate for transpeople is very high as they struggle with depression. They are often musinderstood and are shamed by the public for being who they are.

As a transwoman coming from a conservative, and at times extremeist, country, I find it a constant struggle to educate the public that we are not crossdressers, or transvestites, or even drag queens. We are women, who think, live, and function as women. Transvestites, or corssdressers, are men who express their femininity within a safe space, but only for certain periods of time before they go back to living as men.

In our efforts to get society to understand who we are, I think we may have undermined, or even overlooked, crossdressers, because society is easily confused by their presence, and our message could get lost in transmission. This is a society that doesn’t acknowledge, or care to understand, the simple difference between gender and sexuality. “Privilege-bodied” people, as I call them, see gender as binary, or black and white, and force others to abide by the heteronormativity that they were taught to believe and accept. Pink for girls, blue for boys. What if the girl likes pink? Or the boy wants to play with dolls?

I have crossdresser friends who meet regularly, in full makeup and women’s clothing. They hang out for a while, take photos for keepsakes, then go home to their lives as men. Some are heterosexual males. Some are married, some are single. Others are transwomen in the transitioning phase, who need a safe space to express themselves. There aren;t many spaces to do that if you are from a conservative background, in a conservative country. I hear a lot of their stories, here in Japan. That being said, crossdressers in Japan enjoy a higher level of visibility than in Malaisea. You can tell a crossdresser from a transwoman because of the skin and dimensions of the body. In Japan, because of the culture that respects privacy, crossdressers are safe in public.

The journey for a transwoman is a complex one. Some start out identifying as gay men, who eventually come out as trans. Some have always felt that way, but suppress theor feelings until much later in their lives, after struggling with depression.

When I was growing up, I wanted so desperately to undergo SRS (sexual reassignment surgery), but I was raised to believe I would be defying God’s will, and that I would go to hell. When I was young, the gender divide was very clear. My sister would be assigned to cook and clean, while I would do the heavy lifting and other “manly” errands around the house.


I always have this vision in my mind of standing on a platform, with one side for women, the other for men. I would be standing on the wrong side of the platform, trying to get to the other side. I just keep staring at the other side, watching trains pass by. Saturday 2:34pm

Original:

Yesterday i went to akta community center shinjuku to set up my exhibition, ironically i can't stick anything or use the wall but use the hook on the ceiling slightly infront of the wall to hang the artwork, i feel proud of myself because i did it all on my own for the first time in my life. Usually like last year big exhibition in SG Bienalle i need many people's help because of the installation, chairs and curators friends who helped hang the artwork on the wall. Yesterday i manage to do all with just a thought in mind. Make it simple. And with that thoughts i manage to do the setting up more breezely, switfly, and with the help of 2 friends, 1 who translate from English to Japanese and another help with hanging the artwork but setting up tying up the strings were fast, i guess with the idea of simple settings or start simple as foundation, then later i can just add on to make it more elaborate is the way to do it. During setting and putting up artwork, there was a woman who came to the center and she was talking to Janji san who volunteering at the center. I was wondering if she was a transwomen or crossdressers because in Japan, the crossdressers scene or movement is strong and very visible in public. There's an activists name Junko Mitshuhashi who shared her experience living as a crossdresser in Japan and she was invited to many talks, interviewed, written articles to media about her life experience and other activity in crossdressers community. The difference between crossdressers and transwomen is they don't experience what the medical term called gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria. For transwomen the feeling of having the opposite sex body and what they feel indside is devastating. The suicide rate for transperson is high. One often have an idea to hurt the body or someone to hurt them or som just end it by committing suicide. This kind of information is rately published in local media where they often misunderstood and shamed for being who they are. As a transwoman coming from extremist conservative country i find it very interesting because us transwoman trying hard from time to time to tell or educate the society who enforce gender binary that that we're not crossdressers or tranvestite or drag queen. We're just woman who live, think as one full time. Transvestite, crossdressers are men who express their femininity in their own safe-space in certain short time.
In our activism in a way we undermine crossdressers because for us they confused our messages to the public or society. A society who cared less about other fellow humans variety and the simple differences of gender and sexuality. Privilege bodied i call it often take this for granted and often force their handed down heteronormativity in their daily lives. Still buying pink for female assigned baby at birth and blue for male assigned at birth without questioning the origins of this stereotype.
I have crossdressers friends who meet occasionaly in one place, make up, wearing women's clothes congregate then take photos together and then go back to being a man. Heterosexual male. Some married some single and some transitioning transwoman. (For transitioning tranwomen its because she find a safe space to do so to express herself probably because she don't have the priviledge maybe coming from restricted, or conservative family and the difficulties of transition.)
I heard and read same stories here in Japan. Crossdressers often meet up in one place, a safe space for them to share their interests. But in Japan crossdressers are more visible in public than in malaisea. When i said crossdressers because they dont usually take hormones and 1 single look you can tell by the skin and dimensions of the body. But because of the Japanese culture as well that they don't invade other people's space then its ok for one to be or wear whatever one wants in public.
Transwomen journey also have many types before becoming oneself. Some thought they were a gay person who attracted to other opposite sex. But eventually found her true identity later. Some suppress it until later in life around 40s, 50s or 60s and eventually gave up and just be who they feel inside and start transitioning. Despite some medical disadvantages because of old age some even go through sex reassignment surgery late in the 60s to achieve their dreams.
When i was growing up, i strongly want SRS so so badly. The urge is very very strong. Some friends during that time kept preventing me from doing so because its a sin. This privilege born in the synched body woman friends of mind will never know for lacking empathy of information on gender dysphoria. When i was young the gender divide in the family is clear, my sister would do the cooking and i'll do the heavy lifting, buying stuff from the groceries stores. I always have this vision standing on a platform where one side is for women and one side is for men and i would standing on the wrong side of the platform and figuring out how to jump to the other side. Sometimes i just kept staring to the other side and see the train passing-by.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

akta/crossdressing/transitioning/SRS/wrongsideofthetracks

Yesterday i went to akta community center shinjuku to set up my exhibition, ironically i can't stick anything or use the wall but use the hook on the ceiling slightly infront of the wall to hang the artwork, i feel proud of myself because i did it all on my own for the first time in my life. Usually like last year big exhibition in SG Bienalle i need many people's help because of the installation, chairs and curators friends who helped hang the artwork on the wall. Yesterday i manage to do all with just a thought in mind. Make it simple. And with that thoughts i manage to do the setting up more breezely, switfly, and with the help of 2 friends, 1 who translate from English to Japanese and another help with hanging the artwork but setting up tying up the strings were fast, i guess with the idea of simple settings or start simple as foundation, then later i can just add on to make it more elaborate is the way to do it.
During setting and putting up artwork, there was a woman who came to the center and she was talking to Janji san who volunteering at the center. I was wondering if she was a transwomen or crossdressers because in Japan, the crossdressers scene or movement is strong and very visible in public. There's an activists name Junko Mitshuhashi who shared her experience living as a crossdresser in Japan and she was invited to many talks, interviewed, written articles to media about her life experience and other activity in crossdressers community. The difference between crossdressers and transwomen is they don't experience what the medical term called gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria. For transwomen the feeling of having the opposite sex body and what they feel indside is devastating. The suicide rate for transperson is high. One often have an idea to hurt the body or someone to hurt them or som just end it by committing suicide. This kind of information is rately published in local media where they often misunderstood and shamed for being who they are. As a transwoman coming from extremist conservative country i find it very interesting because us transwoman trying hard from time to time to tell or educate the society who enforce gender binary that that we're not crossdressers or tranvestite or drag queen. We're just woman who live, think as one full time. Transvestite, crossdressers are men who express their femininity in their own safe-space in certain short time.
In our activism in a way we undermine crossdressers because for us they confused our messages to the public or society. A society who cared less about other fellow humans variety and the simple differences of gender and sexuality. Privilege bodied i call it often take this for granted and often force their handed down heteronormativity in their daily lives. Still buying pink for female assigned baby at birth and blue for male assigned at birth without questioning the origins of this stereotype.
I have crossdressers friends who meet occasionaly in one place, make up, wearing women's clothes congregate then take photos together and then go back to being a man. Heterosexual male. Some married some single and some transitioning transwoman. (For transitioning tranwomen its because she find a safe space to do so to express herself probably because she don't have the priviledge maybe coming from restricted, or conservative family and the difficulties of transition.)
I heard and read same stories here in Japan. Crossdressers often meet up in one place, a safe space for them to share their interests. But in Japan crossdressers are more visible in public than in malaisea. When i said crossdressers because they dont usually take hormones and 1 single look you can tell by the skin and dimensions of the body. But because of the Japanese culture as well that they don't invade other people's space then its ok for one to be or wear whatever one wants in public.
Transwomen journey also have many types before becoming oneself. Some thought they were a gay person who attracted to other opposite sex. But eventually found her true identity later. Some suppress it until later in life around 40s, 50s or 60s and eventually gave up and just be who they feel inside and start transitioning. Despite some medical disadvantages because of old age some even go through sex reassignment surgery late in the 60s to achieve their dreams.
When i was growing up, i strongly want SRS so so badly. The urge is very very strong. Some friends during that time kept preventing me from doing so because its a sin. This privilege born in the synched body woman friends of mind will never know for lacking empathy of information on gender dysphoria.
When i was young the gender divide in the family is clear, my sister would do the cooking and i'll do the heavy lifting, buying stuff from the groceries stores. I always have this vision standing on a platform where one side is for women and one side is for men and i would standing on the wrong side of the platform and figuring out how to jump to the other side. Sometimes i just kept staring to the other side and see the train passing-by.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Malaisea media in the 80s

Malaisea media in the 80s (edited by Dorian)

Every country has got its own socio-political history and background thus shaping its citizen mind and behaviour. Malaysia, has a race-based system, thus transwomen are also divided by race, class, interests and also between who are beautiful, which is usually defined by the categories of very passable, barely pass and non-passable. Transwomen who barely pass or are non-passable are usually those who have experienced fully the male puberty and have developed secondary male sex characteristics like the brow bone, Adam’s apple, broad shoulder, bigger bones and feet, facial and bodily hair, etc experience more discrimination from society and from within the community itself.

Malaysian Indian transwomen, who are mostly Tamil, call themselves Thirunangais and follow the familial system as practiced in Tamil Nadu, India. Malaysian Chinese transwomen either form communities that are closely linked to Malaysian Chinese crossdressers or become stealth and do not acknowledge their transgender past. Most transwomen groups or organizations begin to cater to economically-challenged or poor transwomen who mostly do sex work. Most of these transwomen were either disowned or ran away from home at a young age and are forced to survive on the street.

Since the early 80s, the government-owned media machinery has spread a lot of fear and prejudice towards transwomen. Some local Malay dramas imply that transwomen are heavily-laden with sin due to transitioning or sex reassignment surgery by portraying the bodies of transgender characters in death as being too heavy to be carried by the pallbearers. Other examples of these negative connotations include portraying the flooding of the graves of transwomen characters, signifying that even the earth will not accept these “tainted” bodies. These ideas from popular media permeated the Malay culture so deeply that some Malay transwomen are afraid to transition or undergo sex reassignment surgery for fear that their bodies might not be accepted by their graves, which is a sign of grave sin to Muslims. Some who do undergo hormone replacement therapy opt to stop taking hormones later in their lives in order to avoid this “fate”, causing them to become depressed in an increasingly masculinising exterior that they no longer recognise or love.

One story I have personally encounter when I was published by a local magazine called 'Gila-Gila', which featured comics from popular Malay cartoonists at that time. I cannot recall who the cartoonist of this particular story was. It was about a seemingly effeminate man who was always mocked and made fun of by the people living in the same village. One day, she leaves the village for Kuala Lumpur to work and begins transitioning there. After some time, she returns to the village as a sexy woman. After peeping at her in the shower (most bathrooms in villages at that time were placed outside the house and sometimes do not have roofs), one of the guys in the village fell madly in love with her. She leaves again for Kuala Lumpur but returns soon after. Her admirer, wanting to propose for her hand in marriage, runs to her house as soon as he hears that she is back from Kuala Lumpur. He was greeted by a man who eventually informs him that he was the girl that he was looking for. She de-transitioned in order to conform to society’s expectations.

I resolved then that this was not the end that I wanted for myself, that I would live and die as a woman. According to Kak Su, a senior transwoman community leader (known locally as a mak ayam besar), she has attended many burials of Malay transwomen, a majority of whom are Muslim, and have never witnessed any superstitions such as graves flooding, thunderstorms and others manifesting in these burials. However, most Malay transwomen come from conservative family backgrounds and still perform their prayers as male for fear that their prayers will not be accepted by god. As such, these superstitions involving transwomen remain almost unquestioned in Malay society, even by Malay transwomen themselves.

An issue that cropped up recently was a directive by the Ministry of Information that banned local productions from producing anything with homosexual or transsexual characters. An unspoken rule in the local media community is to ensure that characters that were sexual or gender identity minorities had to die before the end of the movie or drama, or repent and return to the “straight and narrow” in order to not be taken off-air or be heavily censored. One such movie that was not banned despite this directive is “Dalam Botol”, which depicted a Malay transwoman who underwent sex reassignment surgery for her boyfriend. Later she regrets this surgery as her boyfriend leaves her, and she de-transitions and marries a woman who is committed to keeping her to the “right path”. This movie was a hit locally and further reinforced the stereotype that transwomen transition to fulfil the desires of their boyfriends, and can be “converted” to cisgender with enough persistence and god’s grace.

With such a toxic environment towards transpeople, it is no wonder that Malaysian transpeople are leaving the country for greener pastures, mostly in the West, where they might live their lives to the fullest. This is also one of the reasons why I am doing this project; to tell and create an island of positive stories of happy, successful local transwomen in a sea of negativity.



The Philippines

The Philippines is a country where the high majority of its citizens are conservative Catholics. However, it has a long history of sexual and gender identity minorities being well-integrated into society as they are. There is a blurring of boundaries between sexual orientation and gender identity, especially between gay men and transwomen, where it is commonplace to call both “Bakla”. There was also the influence of their American colonisers, where the introduction of the English language into Filipino society made it easier for information from the west about sexual orientation and gender identity minorities to be communicated to the people. Also, especially towards the end of their occupation, the gay civil rights movement was stirring in that Western superpower country, which further enabled Pinoy LGBTs to come out and form their own movements.

There is a vast economic disparity in the Philippines, where the majority of the people are desperately poor while the very few in power are ultra-rich. However, there seems to be a great deal of tolerance and freedom of expression for sexual orientation and gender identity minorities in society. There is a long tradition of beauty pageants, held on a weekly or monthly basis in different boracays or districts in Manila and other large cities. There is a great diversity and visibility of sexual orientation and gender identity minorities. This includes the transwomen which come in many stages of transition or those that do not feel the need to transition but still identify themselves as transwomen.

Japan

So far, I have not found any NGOs or NPOs (non-profit organisations) in Japan that specifically cater to transwomen or transmen. Most organisations that cater to the trans* community also deal with issues of other sexual orientation and gender identity minorities. The LGBTIQ here are called SekMai, which is an abbreviation of “sexual minority”.

Some people that I have interviewed say that there are gaps between the SekMai and the straight cisgender people in Japan. I wonder if the term “SekMai” was coined by the straight cisgender community to draw the line between them as the majority and the SekMai; much like how males who are neither straight nor cisgender are defined in the Philippines as “bakla” and in Malaysia with the derogatory term “pondan”.



Flow of information-SOGIE/TRANS101

  • From my observation, countries who use English as a main language often adopt information about sexual orientation and gender identity minorities more easily compared to countries that do not, as most of these information are in English. For example in the Philippines, community leaders can disseminate information to members as is without having to translate the contents. This information is presented in a format known as “Trans 101” or SOGI/E (sexual orientation and gender identity/expression), where the distinction is made between effeminate men and transwomen. In this format, transwomen make it clear that they are neither effeminate men nor bakla, but are women who are trans*.

  • In Japan, the medical term 'GID' (Gender Identity Disorder) has been adopted and used to diagnose MTF transwomen, FTM transmen and also 'X-jenda'. It is then easier for transpeople to come out to their families as it is a medical condition. The doctors would then advise their parents to not attempt to try to change the child into something they are not. 
So far there are no specific NGOs that are fighting for transwomen rights, probably because of the strong culture of conforming to gender stereotype. Most transwomen who have completed their transition live in stealth and are happy identifying only as women. In 2003 a law has passed that made it possible for transwomen and transmen to change their legal documents after their sex reassignment surgery. However, those who have transitioned after being married and having children cannot change their legal documents. Homosexual marriages are not allowed legally but there are some priests and other religious officials who offer special services for gay and lesbian people to be married.


  • In Malaysia, a majority of the Malay Muslim transwomen are not fluent or cannot converse at all in English. However, community leaders and activists spread the information about SOGI/E to the community through human rights workshops and trainings, and at community meetings. The Malay derogatory term used against transwomen is “pondan” or “bapok”, which is equivalent to “bakla” in Tagalog and “okama” in Japanese.







    The more where gender binary are enforced for example like a muslim country like malaisea and Catholic Christian country like in Philippines and also Japan, the higher the awareness in transwomen community to spread the knowledge about SOGIE, to tell the society that we're not crossdressers or transvestite which is only part time, but for transwomen we're going through what the medical term called GID (Gender Identity Disorder) or gender dysphoria, and intense hatred towards ones body because of the opposite inner feelings or the core that made the person a transgender person hence the separation from sexual orientation and gender identity. I've been through so suicidal phases in my earlier life and sadly my body went through make puberty and i felt i want to kill myself so badly. I even hold a knife in the kitchen wanted to cut the genital off. Nearly everyday, every night i cried in bed because there's no one to talk to and i wouldn 't imagine if i too, my life earlier i would't have this journey and be where i am at this moment.



    The more gender binaries are enforced in Japan, Malaysia and the Philippines, the higher the awareness that exists in transwomen communities about SOGI/E; and these communities feel a greater need to highlight to their societies the differences between sexual orientation and gender identity, and to differentiate ourselves from crossdressers or transvestites. This is because while crossdressers and transvestites practice a form of gender expression, transsexuals experience an altogether different gender identity – which is coined in the DSM-IV-TR as Gender Identity Disorder. The more current medical term, which is found in the DSM-V as Gender Dysphoria, describes an intense hatred towards a certain part or all characteristics of the assigned gender that are incongruent with the experienced gender. Taking myself as an example, I have experienced many suicidal phases in my life due to Gender Dysphoria, especially after going through puberty. I have even held a kitchen knife intending to cut my genitals off as I could not accept that I had to live with something that feels so alien to me.


    • What I have learned from the Philippines and Japan in terms of trans* and wider LGBT movements is that both these countries have had a long history of queer people which is documented in movements, written records, oral histories and stories. These movements usually begin as a singular entity, then branch out into other organisations or groups as it reaches maturity in having different ideologies and positions on matters.

    • For examples in the Philippines, transwomen only had a single group called STRAP. Many other groups later formed like Ganda Filipina, ATP (Association of Transsexuals in the Philippines), Colors and Transpinay. Even transmen communities have branched out into a few groups. These communities are there to cater to the same interests of its members, job opportunities and giving out information about their rights as citizens of the Philippines. The trans* movement in the Philippines seems to be very strong because it has a stronger union movement compared to Malaysia and Japan.

    • Transwomen in Malaysia are divided by race, class or socioeconomic status, interests, looks and experience of transitioning. It is hard to tackle the various problems as we are not as united as the transwomen in the Philippines. It is especially hard when in Malaysia, Malays and Muslims tend to feel more superior than the other races as they are considered the Bumiputera, or the Sons of the Soil and are accorded more benefits compared to the other “immigrant” races. As such, Malay transwomen tend to feel the same way and only feel comfortable being around other Malay transwomen. Ironically, the Syariah law, which prosecutes any Muslim transwoman for supposedly being a man dressed in women’s clothes, is implemented by these same so-called “champions” of the “superiority” of the Malay race. Another hurdle is also the moral policing and peer pressure within the trans* groups in Malaysia, preventing members from questioning issues about religion and politics as they are seen to be “sensitive topics”

    • The similarities between Philippines and Japan is that the people there are not afraid to protest or have open demonstrations for whatever reason. From what I see, it is more prevalent in Japan where many issues are protested daily. One such example is the “Genpatsu” protest, which protests nuclear plants, which happens every Friday outside the Gokkaigijidomae train station, by the roadside and at the National Diet Building.

    • I cannot help but to feel jealous as the sexual orientation and gender identity minority histories of Japan and the Philippines have paved the way for them to be where they are at now, and how this is not reflected in Malaysia despite our own rich heritage of gender and sexual fluidity – which has been lost beginning from the oppression of our British colonisers who tried to enforce their Victorian morality on us, to the current vigorous Islamicisation by our government which tries to enforce more and more radical and conservative Muslim values on our society. However sexual and gender minorities in the Japan and the Philippines, despite their repressive religious majorities, still manage to defend their existence and live proudly in society.

Friday, May 30, 2014

draft- msian media during 80s until now

malaisea media since 80s
Every country has got its own socio-political history and background thus shaping its citizen mind and behaviour. For example Malaysia, has a race base system, thus transwomen are also divided by race, class, interests and also between who are beautiful means very passable, barely pass and non-passible. Most malay transwomen naturally or mostly coming from religious family background thus some perform prayer as a male (as fear that the prayer will not be accepted by god and some as female who believe that god will accept the prayer regardless sex , gender, race etc). Indian transwomen have their own group or organization called Thirunangai, and i never heard of any Chinese TS group. From what i see Chinese TS individual who has transitioned go on and live their own life in society as the majority cisgendered women would do. Most probably the need to have a group or organization is coming from group that economically challenged or from poor transwomen who mostly doing sex work where in earlier life she ran away from home at a young age and survive on the street.

Since the early 80s government owned media has spread a lot of fear and prejudice towards transwomen, and the public Some local malay dramas portrayed transwomen who passed away or died, during her burial the people can't even carry her body because of the weight, probably trying to portrayed she's weight by her sin after transition or sex change. Another story, the earth would not accept the body as well by flooding the grave with water.
Because of all this continues fear and horror being a transwoman, some transwomen were scared to become themselves or transition and later in life regretted because too late or the body further masculinized and gave up, live life like a zombie or half awake and half dead.

One story i encounter myself when i was young is inside a local version of 'Mad magazine' called 'Gila-gila', 'Gelihati' etc. I forgot who was the artist but the story is about this person from a village, very effiminate male, the village people love to make fun of her, one day she went to the city Kuala Lumpur to work and transitioned. Then after awhile she get back to the village. She was so sexy and pretty, there was this guy who fell in love with her, he even peeping her shower outside. (In village in the old days the shower or bathroom is outside the house with only 4 walls, some without roof). He fell in love with her and want to propose to her and get married. Then one day she move to Kuala lumpur and then back to the village. When the guy who fell in love with her heard that she came back, he ran straight to her house and knock the door. He was greeted by a man. He frantically ask the man wether he know the woman who use to live here, and eventually the guy told him that he was her. The guy dreams and hope crushed. S / he de-transitioned. At the end, i felt like this is not the story that i would like to have. I would fuckin die as a woman that's what i kept telling myself. I hate this kind of story but it was out there in public, with many other stereotype that shape the society or the malay mind about transwomen.

According to KakSu our senior or mak ayam besar, she has work and met with so many kind of transwomen since working at the community centre since the 80s. Went through many burial. She hasn't witness any single scenarious with the body became very heavy and the grave flooded, thunderstorm etc, etc. Most of them get a peaceful proper burial (despite the burial in male way in islamic burial). Even when you die, the malay society would not give you or accept you fully) probably the fear of gods wrath and hell fire.
I remember few years back doing one of my freelance work with women activists, our project was to produce lighthearted comics online. Poking fun at the religious authority, syariah law, patriarchy in our society, government, laws. One of the issue that came up at that time was the ministry of information new law that requires any lgbt / trans characters must die at the end of the movie or repent and go back to the right path whatever that means. Even before they rule out this phobic laws the've already been doing it for ages. It only materialized recently. I wonder if this is the reason why some of the TS / TG at the time travelled or migrate to Europe and other countries and live their life to the fullestest. The environment to live as a transwoman was very toxic, created by the government owned media. Even when i was young prior to my transition my mother ask me wether I want to be like this famous well knowned comedic effiminate actor. She couldn't even muster or imagined for me to be a woman because the word out there at that time was you can only be woman if you are born with two sex organ. That was their logic. The majority of cisgendered malay minds. Only people born with 2 sex organs can choose wether to become male or female. Even hermaphrodites come with many variations, and when asked some of them are happy to be who they are without having to choose to become male or female. They just happy to live with 2 or ambigous sex organ.
Since the early 80s, the time i was living and growing up. I've met many transwomen. Almost all are passable and beautiful and from my family circles, most have the idea that only hermaphrodite can transition to be woman and most transwomen who transitioned and lead happy live to the fullest and some have their owned family and adopt children of their own, their stories were never out there, non-existent.
I guess this is why i'm doing the project. To tell the other many stories, happy stories, success trans stories that was never told or talk about in public of the malay society.

Philippines is a Catholic country. But they have a long history of the LGBT members being out and proud. They have a long history of gay culture since the American touch their soil but during that time everyone who's non-heterosexual was labelled 'Bakla' in a way that blurred the boundries between gay and transwomen in society's perception.

Majority of Philippinos are poor but many LGBT people within society freely expressing themselves or live fully and it seems there are high tolerance towards LGBTIQ people in the society. They have a long traditions of beauty pageant and its celebrated oftenly every week and every month in different boracay or section of the cities. LGBT members from every spectrum evidently very visible in public For transwomen there are many type as well often very feminine while some still in the process or just happy beng who they are.


In Japan, so far i haven't found any transwoman NGOs or what they call NPO here profit organization). Mostly all LGBTIQ organization here are a mix. No specific Transwomen or Transmen organization. The LGBTIQ group here also are called SekMai which is a short form for sexual minority. Some people i met describe society here there are gaps between the SekMai and the straight people.I wonder if the term 'SekMai' are coming from the straight people to draw the line between the majority straight to the minority like how in Philippines the term Bakla was coin from the past to describe the majority non-heterosexual. And in malaise how (most prob coming from male who felt threatened) by the queer, effeminate male the derogatory term Pondan / Bapok was born which intentionally to disgrace the queer people. Most transwomen who passed the male puberty and develop male physical characteristics like the browbone, adam apple, broader shoulder, bigger bones and feet, hairy arm and legs will experience discrimination from society.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

tyranny

what happen in the Us and Australia right now....this is sad indeed...
as a transwomen, personally i've never have interests in watching RuPaul dragshow but many of my gay friends are a big fan indeed. And Carmen Carrera discovered herself through RuPaul's show and she was attacked by Ru's fan who said she's very ungrateful, this is complicated too longwinded to write at the moment but the feedback below are some of transwomen's voices that made sense why its against us and our struggle....

from the book Both Sides Now - a memoir of a Transman  (Dillon Kosla)
"Pg.314 - Transwomen 
Since this WAS Their Final Surgery, the three had all Been on Hormones for years But what stuck me as most extraordinary was just how ordinary they all actually were. And i came to understand why they hated the term 'Drag Queen "or" Transvestite ". For those who fit under such terms were typically and exaggeration or caricature. But theses were women . Ordinary women. "

























Friday, May 23, 2014

X-jenda

Yesterday 24th /5/14 went to CGS to prepare for the R-week(Rainbow Week) exhibition on my work mostly trans issues and politics in malaisea. Yesterday there was quite alot of people on the train towards Mitaka or Kunitachi, usually its not that many people.
Had a light lunch only vegetable soup & miso soup, couple of pastries. Then to CGS and print artwork. Quite a lot around 60-70 pieces all A3 size and few A4s. Mao san was also help printing and putting up the artwork on the wall at the library.
Before we print the artwork, Maosan invited me to this new professor talk about her project on Asexual people in Japan. Its great that i have this opportunity because i always wonder about the phenomenal Asexual people in Japan.
The would-be professor's name is Sonja Dale and she's a Singaporean. Her lectures in point form: - recently more people diagnosed with GID but not MTF/FTM trans but X-jenda -diagnosed GID is easier to explain to family/colleagues the situation of being X because its more like medical condition -in a way media reprentation on GID is more recognized than homosexuality -with GID certificate, its easier to tell their parents they are X -gender roles, x-gender is a trump card??? -sei doitsu sei shogai (GID) diagnose is necessary in order to -get SRS -officially change sex -name change -diagnose instituitional recognition,possibility of social recognition -GID signify the decsire to transtion from either male-female/female-male,more increasingly individual diagnosed with GID and X-jenda
Sexuality -gay/lesbian terms too well known Separation of gender/sexuality -homosexuality imagined as gender-normative
-Categories are shrinking, women,gay,men are insufficiant for describing individual identity -2011-now socially recignized the term more institutionized
(Dis)orientation
Im not troubled but people around me are
-X-jenda identity is means to orientate trans issues into society -Is it possible to mov?
-No matter how free an individual desires to be of gender, this is possible even concepts such as 'androgyny' were used of gender in their difficulties
*Fieldwork *Theory *X-function From K-function individual coming out- Micro(individual) Move out to Macro(society) *Think of yourself as the X *Mapping -Trace social phenomenon-specific context
- Mapping X-gender: study how the concept of X-genda in contemporary society
Findings (X-jenda people/characteristics) -identify as X-jenda (not women) is what allows her to move beyond determinism of female gender expectation -distinguish themselves from the catogary 'gay'. Its a term that they feel adequately captures how they identify themselves, -appearances as intentionally confrontational -tall,wide frame, wear skirts, -the term X-jenda id a means to express their opposition to the gender binary in society. Its a political statement. -Not a choice, perfectly describe the situation they're in. Diagnosed GID. -Some against the term GID as they said they're perfectly normal.
















Photos by Mao san:


















Wednesday, May 21, 2014

important events snippets

some snapshots of important events this i missed to type when i was Philippines,
the Yolanda donation drive at UP, i Join and volunteered with other ATP members and many other important events~ 












deadline for CGS/ICU exhibition and workshop

deadlines exhibition:
Dear Shieko-san,

Arigatou! It was great to discuss further about your exhibition and workshop.
Hope everything will go smoothly!! (sending good vibes for you to draw!!)
Time is ticking, but let's work this out to create an exciting one together ne :) 

Okay, so here is what we have talked today.
If you have any question or correction, please let me know. 

Also, about the rainbow flag that you're thinking of making, I'm willing to help you with that. 
I'm usually available on Tuesday and Thursday, and also free on the 24th (sat) and 25th (sun).
So please feel free to ask me if you need a hand to paint :) 


【May 14 (wed) noon】
・send mao to ZIN info flier to print (shieko)
・description of exhibition (shieko)
>> about 100-200 words in English 
・description of workshop (mao)
・class room reservation (mao)
・ask how big is the exhibition wall (mao > reference center staff)

【May 19 (mon) noon】
> Event poster DUE and submit to Kato-san for the final touch up (shieko) 
* after finalizing the poster, CGS will start sending an announcement regarding on your exhibition through campus mail, FB, twitter and so on.  

【May 23 (fri) come to CGS @ noon】
Getting ready for exhibition preparation!!!
> printing out shieko san's artwork (mao)
> draw "transitioning process" on cardboard (shieko)
> DECO: carry all the exhibition materials in (shieko, mao)

*BRING & DO NOT FORGET*
・artwork data
・pens to draw on cardboard
・dress hanger
・dress racks to hang clothes
・clothing, shoes, etc for exhibition (I'll take some pics of my stuff as well and show them to you)
・many many laundry clips (for artwork)
・many many strings (for artwork)
・cardboard (already ready at CGS)
・handmade rainbow flag for exhibition (if you're gonna make, i'll help you to paint together)

【May 26 (mon)】
> Exhibition start!! (hopefully!!)

【May 30 (fri) @ 13:00~】
> Meeting (shieko, mao) -- go through shieko san's presentation material for June 4 (wed)


= following is about the exhibition and workshop =

<<Exhibition>>
Title: "Trans & Dace (transcendence): Trans* Issues Transcending 3 Continents"

Description: (shieko-san is working on it now)
>> either 1) trans issues in Malaysia or 2) art project conducted under API (trans issues in Malaysia, Philippine, Japan) -- shieko-san will decide soon

Period: May 27 (tue) - June 13 (fri)

Place: Break Area of Othmer Library Ground Floor, International Christian University

Artist: Shieko Reto (API fellow/ Researcher at CGS)


<<Workshop>>
Title: "Trans*mission: Sharing Session & Art Therapy Workshop"

Description: (will be coming up soon)

Time: June 4 (wed), 2014  // 15:10-17:00

Place:One of the classrooms at Honkan (will be finalized on May 14th)

Language: English (No simultaneous interpretation)

Fee: Free/ open for everybody

Program schedule: 
1) Sharing information (30 min presentation & 30 min Q&A) 
・shieko-san's introduction 
・about the situations of trans* as well as sexual minorities in Malaysia 
・about grassroots activism of trans* community and how shieko san has been involved  
・about shieko-san's project under API (why, where, how long) and what shieko-san found out up until now

2) Workshop
- Art Therapy workshop (about 30-40 min)
>> purpose: translating one's inner-self and learn how to express oneself through art
- drawing session for shieko-san's project (20-30 min)
>> draw pictures under the theme of "how do you feel about being LGBT in Japan"

Things to distribute
> "I AM YOU: TRANS ALLY" flier
> ZIN information flier

Materials to bring (mao)
> Big paper for art therapy workshop
> crayon, color pencil, pen, color pen, pen etc
> drawing form for shieko-san's project

Reservation for equipment for presentation (mao)
> mac converter (shieko-san will use her mac)
> microphone

> projector