transgender in translation

okay. i am soo puyat and bangag now at work, but can't sleep during lunch. so might as well join the miss transgender universe craze.

the reason am puyat is because i'm pasaway enough to go out with lez and gay friends on a Sunday night. it was soo inet so i wore micro mini garter called skirt and loose spaghetti strapped tank. we were to have dinner at tiannanmen bar in makati ave, but to our dismay, it's under renovation. we decided artistic and ended up in botong's up in a.venue. we paid our respects to the used to be covert and "it" gay club, government, where we can enter for free on face value only. sigh. with the construcion of a.venue, the club has been uncovered so to speak. the excitement fizzled and government ceased to be. the facade now has a tarp "secret cinema". i wonder if they show porn there.

anyhoo, eating at botong's and digesting on a new friend's sob story, i learned that many people still get confused with transgenders. she shared that she met a butch who thinks of herself as a man.

ok, pause.
if a woman thinks she's a man trapped in a woman's body, then she's what?

a. nasasapian ng lalaking kaluluwa? err, wrong.
b. bisexual kasi female on the outside, male inside? err, wrong again.
c. alam ko na! tomboooyyyy! WRONG! 
d. *shocked* err, butch? sorry, still wrong.
e. *isip, isip* uhm, lesbian? hay, wrong pa rin.

i know there are many lgbt terminology educated people here. but there are still people who are not yet that aware of the details and nitty gritty of gender and sexuality. and the above sample question and answer portion is a common conversation i myself have encountered. and honestly i used to be one of those who would answer c, d, and e.

if a woman thinks she's a man trapped in a woman's body or vice versa, then she's a transgender and referred to as a "he".

with all the controversy on miss universe allowing transgenders to join the pageant, i think we have to step back a bit first and understand foremost, what are transgenders?
below are excerpts from Michael L. Tan's Inquirer column, Pinoy Kasi, "Transgenders", published March 6, in relation to Heart Diño's win as UP Diliman USC chair.

Sexual orientation

Let’s deal first with sexual orientation, which in western psychology would have the following labels:

heterosexual - men attracted to women, women attracted to men,
homosexual - men attracted to men, women attracted to women, and
bisexual - men attracted to men and women, women attracted to men and women

“gay” - this term is also used, usually referring to men attracted to men
“lesbian” and “gay woman” - refers to women attracted to women.

Gay has stronger connotations of an identity and political involvement—for example, “gay rights” or “gay activism.”

It’s not surprising that many languages, including those in the Philippines, do not have local terms for “heterosexual” or “homosexual” because these terms were first coined only in the 19th century, in Germany, and originally had clinical or medical connotations.

Tagalog “bakla” - is often used as a translation of “homosexual,” but this is not quite correct. “Bakla” refers more to an effeminate male, rather than a sexual orientation.

Transgender is a term that was coined even more recently and refers to someone who lives between (thus, “trans”) being male and female. “Bakla,” in its earlier meaning, comes closer to transgender. A transgender is someone who believes he or she was born into the wrong biological sex. Thus, Heart Diño speaks of being a “transwoman” because, while born male, Heart believes she should have been female. Same goes for BB Gandanghari who refer to her former male self, Rustom Padilla as dead already. There are also “transmen,” born female but convinced they should have been male. Example here is Chaz Bono.

“Trans” people are usually identified with cross-dressing, but asserting a transgender identity also involves modifications in voice, body movements, even the body itself, to become more like the sex they believe they should have been born into.

The confusion usually lies between gender identity and sexual orientation, that is, equating homosexuals with transgenders.

A gender identity is one's private sense of being a man or a woman, and consists primarily of the acceptance of membership in a particular group of people: male or female. However, there are people who are uncomfortable with the gender that is usually associated with their sex or they are born with. Thus there are those who alter their physical look (hormone supplements, clothing, surgery, etc) to align to the gender they identify with.

Are transsexuals and transgenders the same?

The term transsexual is an older term that was used to refer to people who wanted surgical intervention for sexual reassignment. So in a way, it's a sub group of transgender I guess.

Transgenders and transsexuals are labels used around gender identity while homosexuals, heterosexuals and bisexuals refer to sexual orientation. Most homosexuals are comfortable with their biological sex and have no desire to cross-dress or to adopt behaviors of the other sex. And many local transgenders have no intention of going through reconstructive surgery, but do want to live as women.


Soo, to go back to the miss universe allowing transgenders,
1. if miss canada organization indicated "must be natural born female", then Jenna Talackova shouldn't be allowed. but if they only indicated female, then Jenna can participate.
2. for miss universe, they said they will allow it. whatever our opinions about it, it doesn't matter because the organization itself already gave the  nod. of course, a lot can still happen from now till the next pageant.
3. bb pilipinas can still keep their natural born women-cosmetically-altered-to-be-prettier-sexier contestants. last i checked, they only require female, and doesn't make mention of natural born women.

yan na muna at tapos na lunch time ko. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you for simplifying a very long and age-old discourse.

Hahaha. "gay" is packed with so much meaning na minsan kailangan pa talgang isipin kung paano mag-react sa statement na "you're so gay" :p