India Uncut

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Male. Female. Other

Akshay sends me a link about a transsexual in Norway who has applied for two passports. At first glance, it's just another of those 'odd news' stories, like "Pervert Arrested by Banana" and "Hedgehogs humble McDonald's." But hey, is that chappie (or chaplette) really so different?

When I filled out my college admission forms more than a decade-and-a-half ago, I ignored the spaces which asked for caste. (I didn't know what caste I was, and wouldn't have filled it even if I'd known.) Where it demanded to know my religion I wrote "atheist." My identity would not be circumscribed by their categories, I decided.

And surely that's as reasonable to ask of sexual identity as religious affiliation.

Yes, yes, I know that "male" and "female" are biological and so, and their knowledge fulfills a role of convenience in public spaces. (There's only space for two kinds of public loos, for example.) But while the passport issue will surely be sorted out, this person will always find it hard to be accepted -- perhaps like atheists or working women once did. I hope that changes in the next 100 years. Sadly, progress isn't inevitable, and religious fundamentalism seems to be on a rebound these days.

More on that in a later post.
amit varma, 3:51 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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