Monday, 3 August 2009

This blew me away

Beauty posted a comment on my recent post about dick photos in the online profiles of many gay men. The comment contained a link which I followed. It was a page from the BBC website and the story was about effeminate Bhuddist monks in Thailand. At the top right corner of that page was this story. I can't explain the way my mind reacted to the story after I read it, because although I was pleased that a society somewhere in the world is as tolerant as the Thais seem to be, I was also shocked and surprised at the same time, even though I always knew of the famous ladyboys of Thailand.

It isn't surprising that such an unusually large percentage of the Thai male population suffer from a gender identity conflict of sorts given that even as young as at puberty, boys are afforded the opportunity, perhaps even encouraged (one may fairly say) to become girls. Now, sexuality and gender identity issues going by my own personal experience take considerable emotional and psychological maturity to work through. A 12 year old simply does not have the psychological wherewithal to decide without a shade of a doubt that he or she is transsexual. I suspect that a 12 year old who starts out so early in life identifying as a member of the opposite sex, is unlikely ever to have the chance of discovering other aspects of his sexuality. And those other aspects will inevitably eventually become suppressed. I believe that discipline and strict rules regarding sex, sexuality and gender should be maintained for minors below the age of 16.

There are people of every generation who identify as gay, some are even transsexual. Those now in their 50s and 60s grew up at a time when homosexuality was little understood and criminalised in most of the world. Yet these people remained gay despite the hostility, the misunderstanding and the constraints that surrounded them during their teenage years, the period of their psychological and emotional development. I fear that too much freedom for young people is not in their best interest since having had such little time to develop and mature, they may be denied the opportunity to explore their own sexuality further, thereby understanding it better. They may also not get the chance, or even the incentive, to critically articulate their place in the world. But again, maybe this is just old-fashioned me talking too much, again...


Beauty said...

They used to be teased every time they used the boys' toilets," he said, "so they started using the girls' toilets instead. But that made the girls feel uncomfortable Now apply this to children who are neither white nor black everywhere. In school or not is irrelevant. History is awash with so much pain in discrimination but nobody is doing a lot about it. US President Ronald Reagan´s speech about an alien invasion is often mis-read. What would unite all humanity and tear down national borders is still a bridge too far. ps. I also enjoyed that Thai story about Kampang Secondary School, it serves as a beacon of hope to life.

Anengiyefa said...

Yes Beauty, I agree that the decision of the school authorities at Kampong Secongary School is a positive one. My grouse however is with the fact that boys of that tender age are being somewhat encouraged to exhibit characteristics of this kind, whereas their contemporaries in other less liberal societies are still grappling with being different from the majority and learning to deal with that. There is a learning process that young people must go through, which ultimately provides the capacity to cope with being different. These young kids are denied this.

It takes a mind that is mature to fully appreciate the implications of being desimilar from the rest. And the fact that they were teased when they used the boys toilet is suggestive that mainstream Thai society does discriminate against them. To be offered this kind of protection and recognition is a good thing, but it shouldn't be seen to be a promotion of transsexualism especially because the subjects here are chidren, who are still susceptible to being influenced by their surroundings.