No Third Gender Please!

Project related news

Via Sepia Mutiny, the BBC reports that Janaki, a hijra was denied insurance coverage because she didn’t fit into the gender box of M’ or F.’

One of my jobs has been to work on a documentary about transgendered prostitutes in the US. Interestingly this little box is what they complain about as well. This little box in forms is what forces many of them to get a sex-change operation even if they are ambiguous about the decision. Many of the subjects in the film talked about losing their jobs because of how their appearance changed as they started experimenting with their identity, which forced them into prostitution, and how they were hoping to get a sex change operation so that they could check the right box and get jobs. Many of the subjects wanted to dress like women, have breasts, be addressed as she” but didn’t necessarily want their sex organs changed, and it created many legal hurdles for them, among other things. There is a website devoted to providing support for people who do not want to belong to the either/or gender category, if you are interested in knowing what problems people face with alternate sexualities.

People seem to have a really difficult time with the idea of a third gender, as I have come to realize, even with my little film. Usually a stunned silence greets my film and people are either horrified and afraid to say so, or enjoy the film and are afraid to say so. Either way it doesn’t seem its PC for them to say how they feel, though I did get hate mail from a non-eunuch who felt I was homophobic and xenophobic, odd considering the film is made by a foreigner.” I asked her to clarify, she hasn’t replied yet.