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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Things that make you go Hmmmmm..

Have a read of this and tell me what you think. Hmmmm.... ?

>empire-strikes-back <

It's an intresting read, but I'm really not sure about how I feel about it. I definutly found myself grinding my teeth in a few places.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Spanish Church Slams Gay Marriage Plan

Guardian Unlimited
Monday September 27, 2004 6:31 PM
By DANIEL WOOLLS
Associated Press Writer

MADRID, Spain (AP) - The Catholic Church blasted the government's plans to legalize gay marriage, saying Monday it would be like releasing a ``virus'' into Spanish society.

The Cabinet is expected on Friday to pass a bill allowing same sex marriages, setting predominantly Roman Catholic Spain on course to join the vanguard of largely secular northern European countries that allow gay marriage or some version of it.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero took office in April heading a Socialist government with an ambitious agenda of social reforms, such as streamlined divorce and a relaxed abortion law. The church is furious, and spoke out Monday with some of its harshest words yet on one of Zapatero's boldest endeavors, gay marriage.

Riverdale home to state’s first trans official

Southern Voice Online
By DYANA BAGBY
Friday, September 24, 2004

Michelle Bruce knows what it’s like to be hated. And she wants to pick bigots out of society like “weeds in a garden.”

“All my life I’ve had to listen to, ‘You’re gay, you’re a fag, you’re a man in a damned dress’ or some other snide remark,” Bruce said during a recent interview at Riverdale City Hall in Clayton County.
“Now, I’m trying to make a difference the best positive way I can. I’m trying to do what’s right for everyone, doesn’t matter if they’re transgender, gay, lesbian, straight, black, white or whatever.”



Thursday, September 23, 2004

The Candidate's In Drag









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A big thank you to frank over at the 'The Japan Forum'. He's great to chat to and a joker to boot. Arn't you honey xxx

Beyer changes her mind about quitting politics

Stuff
23 September 2004

Labour MP Georgina Beyer has changed her mind about quitting politics - Last month's Destiny Church rally had got her hugely motivated, New Zealand's first transsexual MP said.

"There are some challenges coming forward from some factions in society and I want to be there to meet those challenges".

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The third sex : Kathoey – Thailand’s Ladyboys

ASIAVIEWS
AsiaViews, Edition: 35/I/September/2004


Interviews and detailed observations shed light on the many Thai boys who’d rather be girls

That Thailand’s katoeys have “no equivalent in Western culture” is the reason behind Richard Totman’s decision to pen this book. Written from interviews and observations over a period of three years in Thailand’s major cities – Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Hat Yai, Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen – the book is an interesting narrative of the lives of 43 katoeys and throws light on their unique Thai subculture: childhood, school years, careers, lifestyles, acceptance by family and society.

The author found it is inappropriate to describe them by such Western terms as “cross-dresser”, “transvestite” or “gay” and decided to keep the original untranslated term of katoey.

According to the author’s research, the ages at realisation of their desire to become a katoey ranges from “as long as I can remember” to puberty. The number of sex reassignment surgeries carried out every year in the country is estimated between 500 and 1,000 and growing, while some go to Singapore for the operation. There is also an interesting analysis about why there is a constant reference to “broken hearts” in this subculture.

Through library research and historical documents, Totman looks at the origin of the third sex in Thai society, evident as far back as the Buddhist scriptures. But whether katoeys are born the way they are because they were promiscuous in their previous lives remains debatable.

Totman is not the first person to touch on Thailand’s third sex, but his assumptions about the connection between modern cabaret shows and likay (the traditional dance theatre of the common people) should be approached with caution. In the chapter “The Kathoey of Modern Thailand and Old Siam”, he assumes likay to be the ancestor of the modern katoey cabaret shows.

Totman based his assumption on a thesis by a postgraduate student of London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies which contained some fascinating photographs. One taken in Chiang Mai is captioned: “Members of a likay opera troupe sitting backstage before the figure of their teacher spirits.” He went on to conclude : “It is clear that the individuals in the group are katoeys.” Many Thais would disagree with this, especially as all the references in this chapter are drawn from non-Thai texts.

The assumption clearly needs more attention and further inquiry from Thai documents or from likay experts. Totman’s interpretation seems to be based on the assumption that every man wearing makeup is a katoey. And, as noted by Supang Chantavanich of Chulalongkorn Univers-ity’s Institute of Asian Studies, he might forget the fact that a straight man is not necessarily a hunk, nor a slender man with smooth face a katoey.

There is apparently no link between cabaret and likay and those performing likay are not necessarily katoeys, says Supang, who has done a PhD thesis on likay.

Likay in the old days was performed only by men. According to Supang, the makeup and slender figure of the leading actor or pra ek li ke were partly to attract mae-yok benefactress. The mae yok, usually older than the actors, did not need strong men to protect them but they did need “just desserts” to sweeten their lives.

In the chapter “The Katheoy and the Religious Order”, Totman again makes a dichotomy.

“The contrast between the two sets of characteristics [of monks vs kateoys] is indeed striking,” he writes. A chart describes monks as strong and admirable, katoeys as weak and pitiful; monks as celibate as opposed to katoeys as promiscuous – which is obviously not always the case.

Totman made a strong comment towards the end of the book that as Thailand comes increasingly under the influence of globalisation, especially now in major cities, a gay subculture of a little more than 30 years old is strongly in the ascendant while the katoey subculture, whose history spans thousands of years, is being marginalised.

He observes that among the middle class of Bangkok who have latched on to the concept of gayness as Western and trendy, the old katoey concept has begun to appear quaint and uncool.

“While Buddhism is tolerant of the transgender subculture, it is a double irony that the issue has become a serious public debate in a Buddhist country like Thailand,” he concludes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

An appeal from 'POONS'

If you have a web page then link the phrase "Eris Bless America" to this page.

http://howlingspoons.blogspot.com
/2004/09/milestones.html

It's an experiment in google. I need your help thank you.
poons.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Thumbs up for policy on transvestites, transsexuals

Utusan Malaysia Online

KUALA LUMPUR Sept 15 - The move by the government to understand transsexuals and transvestites and draw up a policy on them is welcomed by the public and this "different" group in the community.
"They should be respected and acknowledged as normal human beings because despite the fact that they are physically and mentally different, underneath it all, they are the same, we are all human," said lecturer Adrian Yao told Bernama in a random survey of views from the people.
The lecturer in a private institution of higher learning here said transsexuals and transvestites are normally harmless and only a minority of them are involved in immoral activities.
"I think they have a right to earn respect from society," he said.
However, he admitted that Asian society, including Malaysia, is not as open to the concept of transsexuality and cross-gender issues compared with Western countries.
On Tuesday, Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil told the Dewan Rakyat that her ministry was gathering information on transsexuals and transvestites before drawing up a policy and actions to be taken on the matter.
Azlan, otherwise called "Nina", a cross-dresser, applauded the proposal to gather information and consult transsexuals and transvestites in drawing up a policy on this matter.
A phychology graduate from a local public university, he said it is high time for the country to acknowledge people like himself and conduct a comprehensive study on the matter.
"This is a good step. It's better for people to know the statistics and that we are not all bad. It cannot be denied that there are some who spoiled our image but there are also those who hold degrees, are professionals and successful," he said.
He called for justice in keeping with human rights principles and hoped that the policy to be drawn up would open the people's mind and correct the derogatory views of the community towards people like him.
"We are also human. I am surprised when prospective employers at job interviews I attended looked oddly at me. This is discrimination. We are not as open-minded as compared with other countries ... it's unfair if we look at a person without assessing their capabilities," he said.
From a religious point of view, a committee member of a local religious organisation who preferred anonymity agreed with the minister that the problem is complex.
The mother of two said while this group of people should exert their basic human rights, most mainstream religions opined that they should maintain their gender given from birth.
"From a religious point of view, I think I would say yes and no (the justification of the nature of this group). Yes, because they are physically God-created, there is no such thing as man being a woman or woman being a man.
"I always believe the tendency to deviate to transsexuality or transvestism is caused by the environment factor, the way they were brought up. I don't believe it is part of genetics," she said.
She however said the public should show compassion to such people as they were like everyone else; trying to find a place in society and, perhaps, gaining attention and acknowledgement by behaving the way they do.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Waria Gallery

Steve Cohn

During 1984 - 85, while living in Indonesia, I started photographing a group of people known as the Waria, the Indonesian term for transsexuals.
I've had this stuff around, collecting dust for over 10 years, and realized that, what the hell, I can actually 'publish' my book on the web. So, periodically, this Waria Gallery will have six different guests along with a comment that they made at the time of our acquaintence. Enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Alarm over use of hormonal injections

The Hindu
By Devesh K. Pandey
NEW DELHI, SEPT. 16.

The most alarming aspect of the ordeal of the 12-year-old girl, who was abducted from Jehangirpuri in North-West Delhi five years ago and rescued from Agra recently, was that she was administered hormone injections to hasten her physical growth. The police suspect that many other girls like her are being subjected to similar torture aimed at preparing them quickly for the flesh trade.

After being rescued from Sayeed Nagar in Agra, the victim, who has now been brought to Delhi, disclosed that she and her six-year-old cousin were abducted from Jehangirpuri in October 1999 and taken to Sayeed Nagar where both remained together for only one night. She woke up the next day to find that the other girl missing. She had been apparently shifted to some other location. Still in a state of shock, the victim revealed that her captors would beat her and give her injections (hormone) saying it would make her taller and beautiful.
The use of such hormonal injections for hasty physical development had earlier come to light about two years ago when a very wide network of human trafficking being run by a 43-year-old woman named Chhodamani was smashed in Karnataka.

Investigations revealed that Chhodamani used hormone injections, like decadurobolin, and other medicines for rapid physical development of minor girls to make them more "attractive". Several girls rescued from her clutches had revealed the same thing. A senior police officer said such injections were mostly being used in Thailand and Taiwan for similar purposes.

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Read the whole column, it's shocking. The sick bastards.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Growing up gay in Jamaica

BBC NEWS

The homophobic lyrics of Jamaican reggae stars have hit the headlines, but what is the reality of being gay in a society where it is illegal to practise your sexuality?

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Hijras of Pakistan

Queen: a journal of rhetoric and power

The Hijras of Pakistan
by Dennis Drenner

On the bottom rungs of Pakistan's social ladder, the eunuch-transvestites or "Hijras" scrape out a hard existence. Cultural descendants of the court eunuchs of the Mughal Empire (1526-1858), the Hijras now earn their living as beggars, dancers and prostitutes. Though often reported on in India, the Hijras of Pakistan are relatively unknown outside of that country. Most Pakistani cities have sizable Hijra communities, divided into clan groups living mostly in slums and presided over by a leader or guru. Hijra means hermaphrodite in Urdu, but most Hijras are homosexual transvestites, some of whom have gone through a crude sex-change operation. The Hijras are both feared and pitied in Pakistan, feared for their supposed ability to place curses, pitied for being outcast children of Allah. Most Hijras leave or are ejected from traditional Pakistani families around puberty and then join the Hijra community for life. Many have also reported that Hijras will kidnap young men, forcibly castrate them and force them into prostitution, gaining income for the community. More Hijras, however, earn their living by begging, and by dancing at carnivals, weddings and births. Hijras are especially apt to visit the families of recently born male children where they are paid to give blessings--or to simply go away.

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Check out his photos.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Roses of the North: The Katoey of Chiang Mai University

Transgender in Thailand

By Andrew Matzner

Suwanna, an English teacher at Chiang Mai University (CMU), remembers being puzzled. "The name on the roster said 'Somsak', so I looked for a boy. Instead, a beautiful girl raised her hand - it was quite a shock!"
"Actually, I don't mind when katoey come to class dressed as women. It's when female students dress too casually and don't wear their uniforms to school that I'm really bothered."
Compared with most other Thai schools, Chiang Mai University provides a tolerant atmosphere for transgendered gay men, called katoey in Thai. "Here at CMU katoey can do what they want," declares Gan, who is contemplating sex-change surgery. "There is the freedom to do different activities, and the freedom to study what we want. People don't bother us."

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An old site but it has some intresting articles.



Less than Gay: It's a Society Haunted by Heterosexual Blackmail

The Times Of India Warning - this site can be pop-up hell, so I've put the full article here.

VIKRAM DOCTOR[ TUESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2004 12:00:00 AM ]

When an unsuspecting gay casually admits to finding certain straight young man attractive, the consequences can be surprising, if not dangerous. The heterosexual could outnumber, if not overpower his gay 'companion'. They could eat his food, drink his liquor, take his money, enjoy oral sex from him and perhaps even beat him up or, in extreme cases, kill him, as happened with Pushkin Chandra in Delhi. But once the story hits the media — channelled to them by obliging police contacts — a spin is introduced: It wasn't their fault, those homosexuals forced them into committing a crime.

Come again? These are straight men, enjoying all the strength and authority that society accords to this tribe. They are not women or children whose weaker position makes them more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Under most circumstances, they would readily side into a dominating, aggressive role. So, how do they suddenly become hapless victims of homosexuals?

It is amazing how in attacks on homosexuals things quickly get reversed in the reporting so that victims are presented as villains. We saw this happen in the Matthew Shephard case in the US when a slightly built young gay man was abducted, beaten up, crucified on barbed wire and left to die by two considerably larger and stronger men — who then in court tried to plead that it wasn't their fault since Shephard had tried to flirt with them, which so panicked them that they were driven into this. Whatever happened to just saying no?

Creditably, in that case the court threw out this 'gay panic' defence, but it looks like a variation on it is alive and well in Delhi. One wonders why the killers of Pushkin are still bothering to hide — the Delhi police, working through their tame media contacts, has given them their defence. They simply need to claim they were lured into the gay sex networks that we're told entrap young men like this and forced into doing what they did.

How exactly such 'networks' lure young men who in every other circumstance might conceivably have the strength and will to refuse is something that is conveniently glossed over. Homosexuals are believed to possess magic powers of seduction (Karan Razdan's vile Girlfriend made similar claims for lesbians), a stereotype which allows public opinion to gloss over the possibility that young men might not be all that unwilling. The stereotype also permits people to overlook the simpler aspects of gay crime, like the fact that it could be a routine murder-for-money case. In that event, no one would be exercised over why the villains did it.

Let us be clear, the seduction of straight men for gay sex certainly does happen. There are fashion designers and film directors out there who, in between denying that they're gay to the media, have no qualms in putting male models and actors on the casting couch. There are other young men, perhaps closer to the Pushkin case, who won't mind being given a good time by a gay guy in exchange for a few minutes when they close their eyes and think of women (or perhaps they don't close their eyes; after all, realities can be complex!).

The men, of course, cannot be easily compelled — except for hijras and effeminate young men who become commercial sex workers because it is pretty much the only career open to them. As for 'networks', they aren't needed because there is no shortage of such young men very willing to look for a good time — and, sadly, there's no dearth of men who from lust or loneliness are willing to provide it.

The Delhi murders should be seen against a backdrop of an increasing number of cases where criminals have targeted gay men. A blackmailing ring in Mumbai uses a decoy who flirts with gay men over the Internet, always selecting the lonely, deeply closeted ones. He lures a location where they find a 'policeman' waiting for them, who then abuses and threatens them until, terrified by both the physical violence and the threat of being exposed, they hand over their valuables. One man lost Rs 30,000 in just one rendezvous. Another gay man was blackmailed for months, eventually paying over a lakh. In Bangalore, a young gay man was recently lured into a meeting, only to find himself being abducted and held hostage for 36 hours. He was forced to reveal his credit/debit card PIN numbers so the kidnappers could withdraw all his money.

If the police and the media are looking for 'entrapment' these are the cases they should be focusing on, rather than take the easy way out by blaming the victim and letting the villains off the hook. Criminals would know by now that gay stalking and murder makes for the perfect crime. Not only would they find it easy to lure lonely gay men, they also know that most of these victims will be too scared to complain. Among other reasons, gays would fear what the police will accuse them of. Criminals can have their cake and eat it too: If the victim, like Pushkin, is killed and they are caught, the media steps in to furnish the alibi: It wasn't our fault, it was the homosexuals who made us kill them.

Popular Vietnamese series tackles gay issues

LA TIMES
From Associated Press

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — A homosexual killer is leading police on a harrowing journey into an underworld they never knew existed. It's up to officer Lan to solve the case before another victim is found, but he must first confront his own prejudices against a gay brother he refuses to accept.
It sounds like a hot new Hollywood teaser — only it's in Vietnamese.

Vietnam's favorite TV show, "The Crime Police," opens its new season this month by tackling a taboo topic and offering a lesson about tolerance. The plot is groundbreaking for this communist country where sex is mentioned only in whispers, homosexuality is still largely considered a disease and the state tightly controls publishing and broadcasting.

The 10-episode story line is adapted from an award-winning novel titled "Mot The Gioi Khong Co Dan Ba," or "A World Without Women," which took Vietnam by surprise in 2000 when it became the first book to address gay issues in a serious manner.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Nepal: Metis released

Amnesty International

the 39 metis had all been released on bail. Although they still need to return to court, they are no longer in immediate danger of suffering abuse.

A member of the Blue Diamond Society said: "We have no words to thank all the international and local organisations, individuals, friends, governments, media and relatives for their solidarity and support in this difficult time."

Monday, September 06, 2004

Hello and welcome

Welcome to my page of stuff, it's been about a month now since I started this thing and it seems to be going well. I wanted to put something up that was different from the majority of TG websites. There are plenty of sites that give make-up and fashion tips and they do it way better than I could, so RACHELHIPPYHELL was born as an awareness and news site. And as a place to just drop in those odd things that sometimes pop into what passes as my brain. May Eris protect you all !

I've just added over the weekend a message board on the end of the right hand column. So drop me a line and tell me what you think of the site.

Huggy Love, Rachel xxx

PS. Thank you poons for giving me the kick I needed to get my arse in gear to do this.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Can eunuchs get insurance?

BBC NEWS

Angry eunuchs in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu are protesting against a state-run insurance company which they allege has refused to issue an insurance policy to a eunuch.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Happy birthday, the internet

The Register

By Lucy Sherriff
Published Wednesday 1st September 2004 12:08 GMT

It was 35 years ago today that ARPANET, the military network widely regarded as the progenitor of the internet, was switched on.

The Advanced Research Project Agency Network was a wide area network run by the US department of defense. It was used to test new networking technologies - notably large scale packet switching, a then pioneering method of sending data across a network.