Friday, February 02, 2018

Love and support for our sister brothers in Indonesia

Dreadful news coming from Indonesia, where waria have been publicly shamed in the province of Aceh, which is now under sharia rule.

We have been forced to strip off our shirts and have our hair cut in public. We have been forced to undergo "gender re-education"which includes being forced to wear men's clothing, perform push-ups and sit-ups and being forced to talk in deep "male" voices. And be stripped naked and savagely beaten.

"Waria" is one of the ancient third gender identities that exist throughout the world; the word is derived from "wanita" (woman) and "pria" (man).

So it's not exactly the same as our word, "transgender", but like our word it is an identity that has no formal recognition and can be expressed in a huge variety of different ways.

My heart goes out to these people, who no doubt are being scapegoated to distract attention from far more pressing problems of inequality, injustice, and environmental destruction.

All the more so, I guess, because I was forced to undergo "gender education"of a very similar kind during all the years i was growing up in boarding schools.

I so remember being forced to strip to the waist in gym classes and undergo the humiliation of the exposure of my skinny inadequate body. The regular enforced haircuts. Being forced to wear the vile uniform of a schoolboy. The physical exercises and violent team sports. The constant humiliation of speaking in a high unbroken voice. The constant threat of violence. The bullying and the mockery.

The chronic continual assault on my identity for these nine years when I was at my most vulnerable absolutely failed in its intention. I never became a proper man. I learnt to lie and to dissemble and somehow keep my creative self alive.

So my heart bleeds for my sister brothers in Indonesia. The only meager consolation is that I know the macho bullies will not succeed.

History is with us and we are the ones that will survive.
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