Let Down

| Jun 10, 2013
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When I first started writing these dispatches for TGForum some six months ago, I was hoping to be able to inform readers about positive things, tell people about some good news for T girls in Thailand and the rest of Asia. With all the ‘’noise’’ being made about the ‘’umbrella’’ LGBT rights and entitlements and the advancement and clear progress being made in respect of gay male and female rights in places such as Hong Kong or Singapore, I was really looking forward to reporting upon positive things for the much maligned, far less visible, T-community.

Same sex marriages are now being promulgated in a number of Asian countries and, over the last few months, there has been a ‘’epidemic’’ of high profile gay males and females marching out of their closets; gay pride parades are commonplace and even the often vocal, far right, religious groups seem to generally be on the back foot when it comes to gay rights, as the tide of public opinion is too great to resist.

And the T groups? Progress, yes — but very much on the basis of ‘’one step forward, two steps back’’: I am not being critical, just realistic! And, yes, I do admire the successes which have been achieved in places such as Hong Kong where, after almost three years of trying, a T group which really began as a one woman crusade has now finally been able to get some limited funding to open a resources centre, engage a couple of staff and so on. Plus there is newly set up, US sponsored, working group under the auspices of the UN, (based in Thailand) which is beginning to look regionally at the issues facing T people: the prejudices, the transphobia and the denial of basic rights and opportunities; yet for all it’s good intentions this will be a long haul, a journey that stretches almost as far as I can imagine — so deeply are the engrained opinions, bias’ and mistrust of the third gender.

Yes, yes…, I know you’ll draw my attention to the oft reported positive picture painted of the abilities of T’s to integrate into Asian society, to live their lives as they wish; to be free of discrimination and prejudice.

Yes, but no.

If you’ve ever read one of my earlier articles, you can see I try to paint a realistic picture; try to demonstrate that beneath the veneer of acceptance there is still a ‘’glass ceiling’’ in respect of even the most basic opportunities for most T people; not all, of course, but for many, many of them (us!).

I’m always delighted to read or hear of successes for T people. I’m also always keen to fight prejudices in media reporting or fight other forms of discrimination when I become of aware of them (in a limited way I must admit as, at the end of the day, I am still a foreigner living in Asia, and sometimes uninvited intervention is not always welcome).

Sadly, I’m always upset to hear about the misdemeanours of T-girls although, as I have said previously, in many cases there are mitigating circumstances.

This week though, perhaps through a combination of the lack of progress the T community is making when compared with the LGB sector, and after reading two stories about the behaviour of some T-girls in Thailand, I feel let down; seriously let down.

The first case on the famous holiday island of Phuket involved a ladyboy, for no apparent reason, snatching a gold necklace from around the neck of a Russian tourist and (in high heels no less) tried to run away; it seems the incident happened in broad daylight, and the ladyboy in question was promptly apprehended and beaten up by the tourist in question. Needless to say, the press had a field day.

The second incident was caught on video and, again in broad daylight, involved two ladyboys who, whilst cruising on a boat with a number of foreign tourists heading to see a major tourist site, began dancing provocatively, and perhaps forgetting where they were, almost completely disrobed, started entwining themselves around certain male members of the party, rubbing themselves against the men and so on — leaving very little to the imagination in terms of their suggestive movements and general body language. Hardly the sort of public display to arouse empathy from the masses.

Yes, there will always be those who err but, at this particular time, when we in the T community need all the help we can get, any negative publicity about T people is amplified by those less enlightened, ultra conservative people who seek to oppose human diversity of any sort.

No wonder I feel let down.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion

Christine B

About the Author ()

Christine has written numerous (at least 150) articles, columns, op-eds, features & stories for well known T magazines, websites & e-zines; she also works as a part time fiction editor for Club Lighthouse Publishing, and is a co-editor of an award winning T-girl Magazine. In addition, she has written 8 adult books mainly in the T sub-genre which have been published by Club Lighthouse Publishing, for whom she has been the best selling author for the last 5 years.

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