Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pakistan's Supreme Court rules: Pakistanis can opt for 3rd sex on their identity cards

This decision, reported by BBC News, is really groundbreaking. The video is excellent, and note in particular how Shahzadi recounts that as a young person, s/he realized that s/he wasn't either a boy or a girl. Note that in the West, the normative account of the "transgendered" is that he or she was trapped in the wrong body. Because of the existence of the social grouping and cultural category of the hijra in South Asia, it is possible there to imagine oneself as belonging to a "third" category.

I hope all those Westerners who love to congratulate themselves for the supposed "advanced" position of the West on matters gender and sexual will note that Pakistan has moved way, way beyond "us" in the question of the rights of the transgendered. Can you imagine the impact on the transgendered in the US, if they were stopped by the police, and their "third" status was recognized on the driver's license or the passport?

Here's the full report from BBC--but watch the vid:

(6 April 2011 Last updated at 08:52 ET)

Pakistan has taken the landmark decision to allow transsexuals to have their own gender category on some official documents.

The country's Supreme Court has ruled that those Pakistanis who do not consider themselves to be either male or female should be allowed to choose an alternative sex when they apply for their national identity cards.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Steven Shaviro on Samuel Delaney's "Times Square Red, Times Square Blue"

I loved this book. Steven Shaviro captures its significance brilliantly in his review. Here's an excerpt:

"I don't think I have ever read any account of sex and sexual encounters (whether truthful or fictional, gay or straight or whatever) that has been so demystified-or perhaps I could better say, so clearheaded and refreshingly down-to-earth. Nothing in Delany's accounts is idealized by utopianism or burnished by nostalgia. But neither does anything ever appear sleazy or depraved (as is so often the case in sensationalistic accounts of sexual 'subcultures' written for outsiders). Delany implicitly rejects our culture's tendency to define sexuality, and especially non-heterosexual and/or non-monogamous sexuality, as being (whether for good or for ill) transgressive. Delany links sexual desire to the multifarious pleasures of the flesh and intellect, rather than seeing it (in the fashion of so many modernist and postmodernist visionaries) as a sort of metaphysical absolute. He is most of all concerned to underline the everydayness of a sex life that included multiple encounters with multiple partners in these venues. The emotional fulfillment and sense of community provided even by the most fleeting of these encounters is (or at least should be) not an extraordinary situation, but a basic experience of everybody's life."