Sunday, September 30, 2007
Those who follow my journeys would have read the amazing clash of heterosexuality vs homosexuality on Christianity with Scott Thong.
I have also been having some conversations with the people at the Agora, especially on this old topic.
There are another three posts I commented on their blogs posted on 17th and 18th of August 2007 regards to homosexuality.
After several months of trying to get the brothers and sisters on both sides with me to a neutral ground, it seems the group from the side of pro-straight lifestyle (I never like labels, but I decided to use them anyway as they seem to find pleasure in still stubbornly calling us pro-gay lifestyles) in Malaysia would never want to come to that stage.
I have been accused of ad hominem attacks again, even though I have substantiated what I commented with cold hard and NEUTRAL facts, while they still continuously take sources that are from reparative therapy centres / transformational ministries and Christian sources, which is obviously already biased towards anti-homosexuality. Furthermore, as most who researched on ex-gay ministries and NARTH already know, their 'researches' are never peer reviewed.
Ad hominem - dKosopedia
In practical terms, an ad hominem means to reply to an argument by attacking the arguer's personality or credibility without citing facts.
To defend their pro-straight lifestyles they cited these:
"In 1999, the Medical Institute of Sexual Health reported that, "Homosexual men are at significantly increased risk of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, anal cancer, gonorrhea and gastrointestinal infections as a result of their sexual practices."
One Christian blogger:
About homosexuality bringing the end of evolution:
About disease claims,
www.medinstitute.org/ *(this organization is an affiliation of Narth)
To their credit, these sites are only biased by interpretation, but it is sad that they interpret here the cause of STI's to homosexuality, instead of risky sexual behaviour (no condom use, promiscuous sex life that also applies to heterosexuals).
I substantiated my counter voice with this:
About homosexuality bringing the end of evolution:
About disease claims:
*A look down this site here would confirm www.medinstitute.org/ is still under the Christian umbrealla wing. Look at 'Homosexuality' and 'Sexuality'.
While all of my sources are glaringly and mostly NEUTRAL throughout all, they have failed to supply more sources that are NOT of NARTH and NOT of Christian background.
I argued the credibility of NARTH with UNDENIABLE neutral facts but they keep pouring in information from NARTH.
I argued that STIs DO NOT come from homosexuality, but they INSIST that homosexuals are at a higher risk group for STIs.
And this is what they think of me:
(yuki has only been content with adhominems against one organisation, without dealing substantially with their findings, nor interacting with others who also have similar findings)
Another blogger would also probably felt what I felt when you read these comments regarding what me and the Agora was discussing.
like Yuki pointed out, hetero sex exposes people to the same STDs that gay sex does. in any case, the argument that homosexuality is wrong because it has these consequences, is a silly one. by your logic, lesbian sex is the way to go, because lesbian sex puts people at least risk of STDs. hetero sex is more risky than sex between two women.(not that I have any problems with lesbian sex. :p)
Dave Chang said...
Jemufo, I believe u have missed the point here. The silly argument was actually advanced by PRO-gay lifestyle folks that since it hurts nobody, then it's morally acceptable. But, from both NARTH and *Non-Narth* research, they do have medical consequences. (yuki has only been content with adhominems against one organisation, without dealing substantially with their findings, nor interacting with others who also have similar findings)Even you wud admit that lesbian sex has risk of STDs (albeit less risk)... so by the *criteria* of progay folks, this behavior should be morally objectionable :)"
Their blatant arrogant ignorance on this is moronic, as they still turn a deaf year to what I or even Jemufo is saying. So I shall comment this, and see if they wish to respond in this space:
Jemufo, I believe u have missed the point here. The silly argument was actually advanced by PRO-gay lifestyle folks that since it hurts nobody, then it's morally acceptable.
So you are arguing from a 'moral' standpoint, but still none can answer me 'what the (beep) is so immoral about homosexuality? God says so again?
But, from both NARTH and *Non-Narth* research, they do have medical consequences. (yuki has only been content with adhominems against one organisation, without dealing substantially with their findings, nor interacting with others who also have similar findings)
:) It would be so easy to just quote www.exgaywatch.com, the most neutral of 'pro' sources even medically, but unfortunately for you, almost ALL my resources are neutral and never 'progay'. And unfortunately, this discussion itself is already evidence of ignorance and turning a deaf ear on facts by the Agora, and other 'Christians'.
Even you wud admit that lesbian sex has risk of STDs (albeit less risk)... so by the *criteria* of progay folks, this behavior should be morally objectionable :)
So then would you also admit that since lesbians have less risk then heterosexual men, and I did also pointed out in the Centre Of Disease Control site ironically, quoting them... THAT SOME WOMEN WHO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS WSW OR LESBIAN MAY BE AT RISK FOR HIV INFECTION THROUGH UNPROTECTED SEX WITH MEN. Should heterosexuality be more morally objectionable than lesbianity then? So who the heck is the official ad hominem producer?
Jemufo also provided this:
This is a simple but entertaining debunk of the general homosexual myths of our generation.
I would not hide my disappointment with the Agora. They tried so hard to sound intelligent and logical, but unfortunately the foot continues to stick back into their mouths. I really thought the Agora is finally willing to listen. I guess I am wrong. But what do you expect from college students who have barely set foot out to see the world, and only listens to other anti-gays?
My final response to them says all of how I feel:
Dave, I have urged you again and again not to use the inexistent word 'pro-gay'. I repeat again, asking homosexuals to be treated as equal human beings is not being 'pro-gay'.
If you 'love' homosexuals, would you assert your heterosexual superiority as having the opportunities like marriage and employment, and deny homosexuals the same benefits? Are you not even MORE pro-straight? Who holds the major bias then?
And I also asked you again not to use the word 'lifestyle', but I guess your mind is already controlled by the doctrines of the church that call homosexuals inexistent, that it is just wounded heterosexuality. And no one is going to change your mind, And you would still talk to your church members, straight friends and 'ex-gays' about homosexuals to be further 'edified' by the information they give you.
If you want to know a girl, you go and talk to a girl. If you are questioning about girls, you do not go to your football team members, guy pals and 'ex-girls'. If you do so, you will never know what a girl is. And as it is obvious here, you will never know a true homosexual. And still would choose to continuously talk about them, without them.
And about NARTH, look, if you are so confident with their junk science and anti-gay 'love' so be it. If you wish to cite their twisted as 'true sciences' it is your problem if you associate yourself with them.
Heck, so many members of NARTH already left because they wish to disassociate themselves, they would sure need new supporters like you. Go ahead, be my guest. I am sure you would not regret parroting their rubbish for the sake of defending the 'oh homosexuals is ya know, so darn immoral' argument; because that is the ONLY so-called medical body with only 1,000 members in the US to cite anti-gay rethorics, the rest of the current major medical consensus held by 477,000 members from several major medical and health professional bodies in the US are already rejected by you. Go ahead and support the narrow, since it makes you happy.
Guess I am already numb to shallow people that is not looking beyond their 180 degree eyesight. By the way, FYI no heterosexual gene was ever concretely discovered too. Can I argue your existence and why heterosexuals always divorce at a rate twice the amount of homosexuals then? Or should you deserve employment? Or worse, since there is no scientific basis for heterosexuality, should you 'change' then? There is always 'hope' for heterosexuals ya know, if you are STRAIGHT BUT NOT HAPPY?
Yuki's thoughts: I am transsexual and happy, but still hear Christian telling me that I am 'struggling' and 'confused'. Fine.
My struggles are because of these 'Christians' judging the surface of issues like me and homosexuals, talking like they know how we feel without filling in our shoes, and thinking they know more about homosexuality than homosexuals themselves.
I am a very confused and puzzled person as to why these 'Christians' are so naive.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Eartharoundsunophobia period: before the 17th Century:
One of the greatest astronomers of the world, Galileo Galilee was jailed by religious authorities, and because of his assertion that the Earth goes around the sun and not otherwise.
The statement released by the Christian fundamentalist group, who was conducting ‘research’ at that time called the Qualifiers, declared the infamous statement about the idea that the Sun is stationary: ‘Foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts many places the sense of Holy Scripture.’ God knows what would have happened if we had more of these ministries parroting more rubbish then.
“Joshua 10: 13
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, As it is written in the Book of Jashar.
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down for a full day.”
It is obvious here in this verse that the sun was a movable object that suddenly stopped in the middle of the earth’s sky. As we know now, even if the sun DID steadies itself in the middle of sky, it would have been the earth that could have stopped, not the sun. This was the Word Of God and cannot be disputed back before the 16th century. But are we ready now to stake claim that science is wrong, all the media is just painting an illusion of the Milky Way galaxy, and the Sun really goes around the Earth?
“1 Chronicles 16:30
Tremble before him, all the earth The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.”
The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
The Lord is robed in majesty and is armed with strength, The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.”
Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the people with equity.”
He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.”
Four verses stated very clearly that the earth is firmly established in its foundations and cannot be moved!
The world, a gigantic spherical rock, is moving in two ways, all the time. It rotates on its axis based on the north pole and the south pole, and it goes around the orbit around the sun. The Bible cannot be wrong, therefore should we fear the kinds of science textbooks they are bringing home? Or are we willing to admit now that seriously some parts of the Bible is just not applicable in today’s time because it is only the inspired Word Of God?
The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.”
Here the sun is described like a terrier, hurrying up into the sky, then hurrying down, then hurrying up again. This is the obscenely coherent Word Of God. So are we going to start a ministry to teach about this now, and say that those who disagree with this fact are pro-science or ex-Christian, that are not telling the truth?
Or to put it Edmund Smith (Real Love Ministry) style:
Fact: The Earth is rotating and at the same time traveling around the Sun.
Truth: The Earth has foundations and is immovable, while the Sun travels around it.
Or how about another way of Christian conservatives talk; when we landed on the moon and saw that the earth was spherical and moving, it is an illusion created by Satan. We are blinded from the truth and the earth is actually still flat, grounded and not moving.
Well, it is the truth, as The Bible Says So!
For example, when Paul (formerly known as Saul), writes to his son Timothy, he is writing a letter to another fellow human being. Paul was inspired by his own personal convictions in God in what he wrote, similarly to what he wrote to the Romans and the Corinthians. Paul is not God.
But those who worship the Bible, confuses Paul’s words as God’s words. To this end, cherry picking Bible verses to be used to condemn situations they find intolerable happens. The same way it is used to condemn homosexuals. The amazing thing is the amount of words off the Bible that seemed to be virtually ignored for convenience’s sake, some that even God himself demanded a death sentence.
This is a presentation of a list of verses, sentences and passages in the Bible concerning most of the things that are taken lightly in today’s culture in the name of comfort. And some because of change of times. There is no denying that these are the very words from the Bible, therefore there could never be an excuse for it. Which is why it is believed the Biblical intolerance towards homosexuals would one day come to past.
There are also those attempts to go further as to justify some why verses from the Bible that are in non-effect today. Some of the excuses given are:
- Some parts of the Bible cannot be applied today because of different culture and times.
- Some parts of the Bible are only applicable to certain groups like the Jews.
Funny thing is there are still no justifications from anyone on why the Bible is pro-slavery. But most Christians claim the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word Of God.
It is very interesting however, to note that homosexuals are not given the same justifications. The general rule applies here now. If some parts the Bible is not relevant for today, why not all of it? Why pick on homosexuals? If some laws or verses only apply for different groups of people so to speak, that would mean all of the sentences from the Bible that is used to condemn homosexuals, are actually invalid!
The Bible is supposed to be the ultimate guide in knowing God is our own personal journey; it is therefore disappointing that it is being used as a weapon of oppression. To many, Christ represents hope for mankind in times of turmoil; unfortunately, there exists religion worshippers bent on taking away hope from a specific community, just because of differences in people, from blacks and now sexuality. It has happened before, as we will examine Bible in this article’s next part.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
PM Lee Hsien Loong reiterates that although "gayness is mostly something in-born” and "a personal matter," Section 377A will be retained because “that's the way many Singaporeans feel" it should be so.
A law undergraduate queried Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was speaking to university students at a Ministerial Forum on Friday night, about the government’s decision to retain current laws that criminalise “gross indecency” between men despite its promise to not use it against consenting adults.
PM Lee explained that the government had to recognise that many people in Singapore were strongly against the decriminalisation of Section 377A which provides for a jail sentence for up to two years should a man is found to have committed "an act of gross indecency" with another man, either in public or private.
"If everybody felt like you in Singapore...we could change 377(A), and we would decriminalise gay sex.
(The results of a poll in 2000 on gay law issues in Singapore shows that almost everybody agreed they should decriminalize it: http://www.sodomylaws.org/world/singapore/sinews001.htm
Finally, the survey asked about the current "crimes against nature" law, which most other former British colonies have long since repealed but which in Singapore prescribes punishments as harsh as life imprisonment. Recently a heterosexual male was convicted of sodomy against his former girlfriend, but acts between two women have never been prosecuted. Specifically, respondents were asked if they believed that oral sex between homosexual adults in private should be restricted. Restrictions were opposed by 39% of those interviewed on the street and supported by 29%. Among Internet respondents, fully 78% opposed restrictions and only 16% supported them.)
(So where is the 'majority'?).
"It's a very divisive issue, our view or my view is that gayness is mostly something in-born; some people are like that and some people are not. How they live their own lives is really for them to decide, it's a personal matter.
"But the tone of the society, the public, and society as a whole, should be really set by the heterosexuals and that's the way many Singaporeans feel.
(So it means heterosexuals in Singapore is now publically given a superior status in society of Singapore to tone the society, the public and society? Heterosexuals are now the sexual orientation police in Singapore. Asexuals beware.)
"Gay people exist. We respect them, and they have a place in our society. But (for) Section 377A, to change that, will be a very divisive argument. We will not reach consensus however much we discuss it.
(Just how divisive is it? Well, they just do not wish to divide the church and the state, especially when the fundies make noise about their bigotry. Therefore it is better to have Christianity as the superior religion than Buddhists in Singapore, even thought there are around 3 Buddhist for every one Christian: http://www.k12academics.com/singapore_demographics.htm
Singapore is also a multi-religious country, due mainly to its location on one of the world's major transportation routes. More than 40% of Singaporeans profess adherence to Buddhism. The large percentage may be due to a lack of distinction between Taoism and Buddhism; Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and ancestral worship are merged into one religion by most of the Chinese population. Most Muslims are Malay.
Christianity in Singapore consists of Roman Catholicism and various Protestant denominations, and comprises approximately 14% of the population. Other religions include Sikhism, Hinduism and the Baha'i Faith followed mainly by those of Indian descent.
The demographics may be a bit old but still strong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Singapore
The influence of the Christian religion on political issues is really immense: http://www.straitstimes.com/ST+Forum/Online+Story/STIStory_160086.html)
"The views are passionately held on both sides. The more you discuss it, the angrier they become. The subject will not go away.
"Our view, as a government is, we will go with society. We will not push forward as society's views shift. We just follow along. As of today, my judgement is: the society is comfortable with our position. Leave the clause (alone). What people do in private is their own business; in public, certain norms apply."
(The only people that would be angry our Christians churches. And looking at the other heterosexual law that had been ammended to allow sodomy among heterosexuals: http://www.out.co.nz/pages/outnews2.asp?ref=5702 . Where are your voices, oh mighty Singapore Christian Church? Do you Christian heterosexual men and women of "God" kept quiet because you wish to engage in anal sex and oral sex, and are joyous that your Christian homosexual brethren are unable to do so?
In a report last week, Member of Parliament Sin Boon Ann, supported the retention of the laws when asked to comment about a survey conducted by Singapore's Nanyang Technological University. The survey, which was done in January 2005, found that seven in 10 people held negative attitudes about gay men and lesbians.
(Of course: http://mrwangsaysso.blogspot.com/2007/09/why-homosexuality-should-be.html
Anyway, the study is here: http://www.ntu.edu.sg/corpcomms2/news/ST_070920_H10_7%20in%2010%20frown%20on%20homosexuality.pdf
This seems rather strange, and already highly suspectful, considering Singapore's position as a liberal nation fearful enough to cause an ex-gay in Singapore (now in Malaysia) to ask his parroting little chickens not to go to Singapore.
And where exactly are the test subjects from? There should be questions on this study because of all their efforts on asking the 1,000 persons for their opinion, while also getting their religions status, the percentage from the thousand of those from religions like Christianity is not revealed. Can someone fill us in on this, or it is supposed to remain shrouded in doubt.)
The findings showed that 68.6 per cent of the respondents 'generally held negative attitudes,' 22.9 per cent had positive attitudes and 8.5 per cent were neutral.
(But at least in the link above, they admitted this: On average, Christians and Muslims were seen to hold 'significantly more negative attitudes' than Buddhists or freethinkers.)
Sin, who is head of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Community Development, Youth and Sports said: "We are a conservative society and will not be trailblazers in this regard."
He added that the decision to keep the laws was a "statement of values" rather than a "statement of rights and obligations."
(The statement of values should consider on a broader thought about homosexuality. Since it is announced vividly in Singapore that homosexuals exist, why put the foot in the mouth by obviously saying 'Homosexuals are not allowed to have sex, even anal and oral. Heterosexuals can have any sex they want'. Is such blatant discrimination, and imposing a superiority over a minority, a value?)
This is despite the fact that Singapore is the only developed country to have laws criminalising sexual activity between men. Like Singapore, Malaysia and India inherited similar laws from its British colonial past while former colony Hong Kong had scrapped its laws criminalising gay sex in 1991.
(There were two strong worded letters sents to the press in separate times: The anti-gay letter by Yvonne Lee was apparently rebutted by her boss and vice dean Victor Ramraj of the same university they belong to.
Her letter, and presumably another rebuttal by a Mr. Ravi, here:
Monday, September 24, 2007
Michael Jackson's Nose was voted as NUMERO UNO on E!'s 101: Most Starlicious Makeovers... ahead of himself at No 2....
Yuki's choice reading:
As for jobs, I have gone through the worse spell in my life. Five jobs have come to passed since I regretfully left the only job I feel at home and at peace with at a frame shop / gallery at Sunway / Kota Kemuning, Selangor, Malaysia. I have never changed jobs so often before, but one way or the other, I am not secure in them. Even the community work I am doing now, bears a lot of discomfort for me, even though my MTF sisters are around. On most of the five jobs I have been pushed away by ignorance, some of the bosses may like me but the workers do not. Sometimes, the bosses are the problem themselves, at first they really tried to accept me; but in the end, their bigotry got in their way. It seems I am an easy meat to be sliced off, because it is always the transsexual's fault.
The problem with my case would be my inability to work in certain jobs. I have done two bar jobs of the five I mentioned, but realised I am no longer a person interested in drinking myself drunk every night for the sake of entertaining customers. Somehow or rather, be it my moral self or the hormonal therapy I am going through, I really need to get myself fit again. On the other three, which are full time jobs, I faced tremendous pressure from my bosses and some of my colleagues, it seems there is one rule for me and another rule for the rest of the organization.
I am no longer the person I was because of my abysmal situations, from strong I became weak. My drive for perfection is gone and seemed to be buried beneath the years of turmoil. My parents in Ipoh, already are unable to accept the daughter of a son they conceived. My finances are still at a fix. I know I need to get out of Malaysia or I may die here. And I know too I need to be more passable and prettier in order to survive. But to do so, I need money. So where am I going to get it?
I guess most of my depressed state comes from the fact I feel like I am now, a nobody. I used to be someone when I transitioned in my earlier days, even though all that is thanks to my ex-boyfriend who gave me that position. I used to enjoy a nice warm bed in a big room with clean sheets and cool scent. I used to revel in socializing among higher circles of people. I had almost 50 pairs of comfortable shoes to wear and tons of dresses. I lost all that, after I left this abusive boyfriend of mine. My mind ponders, should I have stayed with him? Maybe through all the physical and emotional torture I have to go through, at least I would not be suffering as I am now. I loved the champagne life, but had it ruined me? A fate for the future be shaped based on past experiences?
Now in my continued and on turbo mode of transition, I am facing a life alone. No one to give me the security, finances and comfort. No one to support me. I am learning to be independent in the worse possible manner at the worse possible time. But I badly need one opportunity, just one, to make the world around me a better place. It is a shame, but I will be taking a huge risk soon. But I owe it to myself to take care of me, so even though it will place me in a more compromising position I must do it. I hope I survive every each obstacle a stronger person. What I want for the time being is simple, to make tomorrow better than today. Perhaps that, would give me some peace.
What should I do next, perhaps if I should stop asking that question I could move forward. I need to cease the day, and do all I can to live. Even if it means I go full time on escort duty. Positive thinking? Okay, I will get out of this hole. I will take care of me. And I will continue to come of age. I need to get back to where I belong. Desire, Discipline and Determination, the 3D's I always failed to practise. Perhaps it is time to discover slowly, the adventures unfolding before me.
by Megan Tady
Cast to the margins of society, gender-nonconformists have always lived under the threat of harassment and brutality, but a new report and vigilant voices of resistance aim to expose and challenge prevailing social stigmas.
Jan. 15 – From an early age, Margaux Ayn Schaffer – who was born male – identified as a girl. And from an early age, she was threatened for not conforming to her socially assigned gender.
Schaffer recalls that in the eighth grade, she was beaten up by her peers at school, and that once, later in life, a group chased her from a train station.
"When I went to the security, they just said, ‘You should learn how to fight,’ and they were laughing at me," Schaffer said. Now 48, Schaffer is a male-to-female transsexual.
Living the way that makes Schaffer most comfortable, however, draws a stiff penalty from society. "There are harsh social sanctions for not following the gender lines," she said.
From schoolyard bullying to street harassment to brutal murders, violence is often a part of the transgender experience. The term transgender refers to anyone who transgresses traditional gender boundaries and includes cross-dressers and transsexuals.
"Most folks who... have a gender presentation that is somewhat non-conforming or different from the gender they were assigned at birth have had some experience with isolation, discrimination and violence," said Avy Skolnik, a coordinator with the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, who is transgender himself.
According to a 2005 report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which analyzed incidents targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) in fifteen US cities and regions, 213 transgender people suffered anti-transgender offenses in 2004. The incidents included assaults, harassment and vandalism.
“Most folks who… have a gender presentation that is somewhat non-conforming or different from the gender they were assigned at birth have had some experience with isolation, discrimination and violence.”In another report released last month, the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GPAC) detailed the deaths of 51 people under the age of 30 who may have been murdered because of their gender non-conformity.
The Coalition drew on hate crimes reports, newspaper accounts, websites and online databases to complete the report, which covers a decade. The group characterized the 51 murders as "definitely or probably" motivated by gender nonconformity, but warned that, "unless an assailant made a direct public statement – during the assault in front of surviving witnesses, in confiding to a friend, or at a trial afterwards – it was often impossible to determine with complete confidence whether gender was a factor in the crime."
The GPAC report included descriptions of each of the victims’ deaths. For instance, in 2002, Alejandro Lucero, a 25-year-old Hopi transgender woman, was strangled and beaten to death in Phoenix, Arizona. Sakia Gunn, a 15-year-old black lesbian whose mother described her as "dress[ing] like a boy," was stabbed to death while waiting at a bus top in New Jersey in 2003. In 2005, Delilah Corrales, a 23-year-old transgender Latina woman, was stabbed, beaten and drowned in the Colorado River.
“Trans people generally don’t get stabbed once; they get stabbed 20 times, shot, burned and thrown into a dumpster.” The website "Remembering our Dead" memorializes over 300 transgender people who have been murdered in the US and abroad over the last several decades.
A community on the margins
When a transgender person is murdered, the entire transgender community feels targeted, said Mara Keisling, who is transgender and the director of the DC-based National Center for Transgender Equality.
"Even though it appears that there’s not someone out there saying, ‘Let’s kill all the trans people,’ it does feel that way," Keisling told The NewStandard. In the past decade, seven transgender people under the age of 30 have been killed in Washington, DC, according to the GPAC report.
"Besides the fact that so many people lost someone they loved, it takes an emotional toll when you live in a place where you know you could get killed. Those are all horrible things to have to live with," she said.
It is not just through violence that the transgender community can feel targeted.
Often, just carrying a government-issued ID may expose a transgender person to an uncomfortable, humiliating or potentially threatening situation, if it displays a former name or gender presentation. But Skolnik said obtaining documentation that properly reflects a transgender person’s chosen identity and gender is costly and time-consuming, and often a class-based option.
Keisling said anti-transgender violence is part of a cycle of institutional barriers and economic disparities. She said that because of discrimination, many transgender people have fragile employment and housing situations, which in turn can leave transgender people more vulnerable to violence.
Schaffer said something as simple as not having a car can leave a transgender person vulnerable "if they’re having to use public transportation, or if they’re walking along the road."
“When your whole worldview is a dichotomy between white-black, bad-good, straight-gay, and suddenly you see there’s a whole continuum between them and everyone can move around -- well this is terrifying to most people.” Patterns of age, race, class and original sex in anti-transgender violence weave intersections between marginalized groups in society.
According to the Gender Public Advocacy Campaign’s (GPAC) report detailing the murders of young people who transgressed gender boundaries, a majority of the victims – 91 percent of those for whom race was known – were young people of color.
Additionally, the report discovered that 92 percent of the victims were biologically male but presented varying degrees of femininity.
Taneika Taylor, director of communications for GPAC and co-author of the report, said young people and youth of color are particularly vulnerable to violence because they lack "sufficient financial and social capital to ensure their own safety."
Beyond demographics, murders with suspected gender-based motivations typically share another characteristic: brutality.
"Trans people generally don’t get stabbed once; they get stabbed 20 times, shot, burned and thrown into a dumpster," Keisling said. For example, in 2002, seventeen-year-old Gwen Araujo, a Latina transgender teen, was beaten with a skillet and strangled to death while she was at a party with her peers, according to the GPAC report.
GPAC found that a majority of the victims were killed with violence "beyond that necessary to terminate life." In some cases, assailants continued to bludgeon, stab or shoot the victims even after death.
Michael Kimmel, a sociologist and author of books about men and masculinity, said gender-based violence can sometimes be sexualized.
"It’s because it’s about a kind of rejection of that sexuality," Kimmel told TNS. "It’s kind of like purging – not just by murdering something – but by annihilating it; by making it as if it never existed."
Strict gender lines
The rage against gender nonconformists, advocates say, is rooted in how people see and enforce gender roles.
Kimmel said transgender people disrupt a prevailing social concept that everyone can be classified in distinct categories, such as male and female, or gay and straight. Transgender identity, he said, "shows us something that we absolutely, desperately do not want to see: that [gender is] artificial."
"When your whole worldview is a dichotomy between white-black, bad-good, straight-gay," Kimmel argued, "and suddenly you see there’s a whole continuum between them and everyone can move around – well, this is terrifying to most people."
A society’s response to a transgender person, he said, is confusion and anger: "Are you a boy or are you a girl? What are you? You cannot occupy this space. You must choose. You must be one or the other."
But while some people may struggle to understand a transgender identity, Kimmel said it is usually only men who respond to it with violence. Of the 22 murders in the GPAC report with known assailants, all were committed by males.
"We have a very inflexible idea of what masculinity is," Kimmel said. "The violence is an effort to assert that masculinity."
Reporting anti-transgender violence
Advocates for transgender people say strict gender lines are reinforced by the media when reporting on gender-based violence – when the crimes are reported at all. According to GPAC, the murders of about one in four victims in its report received no media attention.
Keisling said it's difficult not only when the mainstream media does not cover anti-transgender violence, but also when the details of the crimes are wrongly reported. "If I were to get murdered," she said, "[reporters] might say, ‘a man’ or ‘a man in a wig and a dress.’ It’s disrespectful to the victim; it dehumanizes the victim."
Due to a general lack of understanding of transgender people, anti-transgender crimes are often classified as simply anti-gay by both the media and authorities. For instance, the FBI’s 2005 hate-crime statistics sort gender crimes by only homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual.
"If trans people are murdered, the public needs to know about it. Trans people need to know about it," Keisling said. "If that gets whitewashed as just gay people being killed, that wouldn’t [help] people to amply protect themselves."
Some transgender advocates have pushed for laws explicitly classifying anti-transgender violence as a hate crime, arguing that such violence targets not just an individual, but entire communities.
Though some states have enacted hate-crime legislation raising the penalties for crimes targeting people because of their gender expression, similar legislation at the federal level has stalled in Congress.
According to the GPAC report, 72 percent of the 51 attacks documented were not officially classified as hate crimes.
While the FBI reported that 62 percent of all murder cases in 2004 were "closed" or "solved" because of arrests made, only 46 percent of the murders in the GPAC report have been solved. The group said a failure to categorize the murders as hate crimes, a general lack of media attention and the marginalized social status of the victims may have contributed to the unsolved rate of anti-transgender crimes.
"When there’s not an appropriate response from authorities or from the media, it often means that there’s not a space for public outcry," Skolnik said. "It can get swept under the rug and it compounds the damage because it reconfirms the message that the offender was initially sending, which was, ‘Your community is not really important.’"
Despite the continued violence against transgender people, advocates say they are seeing some positive trends in combating the systemic discrimination and violence against gender nonconformists.
Ten states and Washington, DC have passed hate crime laws that extend to gender identity and expression. Those states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Missouri, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
Additionally, more than 70 colleges and universities and over 40 K-12 school districts include gender-identity and expression in their non-discrimination or anti-harassment policies.
But in spite of such policies, violence and discrimination against transgender people persists. The National Center for Lesbian Rights reported last January that although California passed a school harassment policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity six years ago, many schools were not in compliance.
Skolnik said that laws targeting gender-based hate crimes would go further in stopping the violence if they included provisions for public-education campaigns to raise awareness about the issue.
"Hate violence is a manifestation of society’s attitudes toward historically oppressed people, including communities of color, women, LGBT folks, people with disabilities, and the list goes on," Skolnik said. "When an incident happens, a significant public outcry and media response and rallying around a group or individual that was targeted not only provides support for the victim, but also sends that larger societal message."
The GPAC report called for mandatory diversity training for law-enforcement personnel on gender identity and expression issues, and for educators to include gender-identity curriculum in schools. The group is also asking for other human- and civil-rights groups to take up the cause of fighting anti-transgender violence.
"We need to see [anti-transgender] rage as a sickness – a cultural sickness – like racism or anti-Semitism or misogyny," Kimmel said. "It’s a cultural illness, so it demands a cultural response."
© 2007 The NewStandard. All rights reserved. The NewStandard is a non-profit publisher that encourages noncommercial reproduction of its content. Reprints must prominently attribute the author and The NewStandard, hyperlink to http://newstandardnews.net (online) or display newstandardnews.net (print), and carry this notice. For more information or commercial reprint rights, please see the TNS reprint policy.
(The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.)
Yuki's thoughts: Pretty much says it all, is it not? All these happens on various levels throughout the world actually. I do not wish to live in a world without love, but the situation is, this is exactly the kind of world we are living in now. The future of the transgender community, in on every one's hands. Ditto.
Friday, September 21, 2007
If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (Lev 20:13)
Again, the overfocus of homosexuality in the old laws of Leviticus, laws that conservatives themselves claim that it does not apply in our times and only applies to the Jews. Hope this boy wisens up and reads the rest of Leviticus 20.
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:9-11)
Here is another verse that is heavily promoted by anti-gay churches. This of course refers to pagan immorallity, which had been mistranslated and misrepresented as same sex attraction. And it is written by Paul in the Bible, the woman basher who dislikes woman who do not wear veils, dressed sexily and strictly do not wish woman to have authority over man.
Had a talk by a speaker by Choices ministry where they seek to counsel, help and heal people with homosexuality problems and struggles. In short, this session talks about what defines a homosexual, their sexual orientation, the root of the problem and finally how to relate to people around us who are facing such problems.
The overuse of the word 'struggler' to define only the label of homosexuality is appalling. It paints a negative connotation that homosexuals are 'addicts' or are having some sort of 'sickness' that they are suffering. The boring reasons to why they believe the a blind church is explained below by this writer.
I guess the first thing which comes to most people’s mind when this topic is being discussed is that this is a taboo topic which no one would talk about it seriously or even treat it as a joke for due to our conservative nature, sex is a topic not widely talked about, much less a topic such as homosexuality. However this stigma that we have towards this topic can become a serious problem as in the mist of the hush and jokes, we may have unintentionally drown those among us who really faces such problems and it makes peer support and even the church sometimes an unsafe place to seek help and support for the problem. As such many people would either bite the bullet and endure this perversion and practice abstinence and try to suppress this feeling which is good at the surface but the problem still persists or worse still fall in the trap of thinking that I am born this way and there is nothing I can do to prevent so I would just carry out what I think is right and there are many out there who are available readily due to the enemy’s power and influence to further push the person deeper into sin. As Jesus say, love the sinner but hate the sin, therefore we must be open and willing to help and relate to people who have such problems and not be paranoid and have unnecessary fear for them as at the end of the day, they are humans just like us who have a problem.
Perhaps this boy already have a problem with gays and lesbians. Hence the use of the word 'perversion'. People always feel 'perversed' on something they do not understand. And they assume that gays are under 'the enemy's power' as if Satan has nothing better to do then recruiting gays. He obviously forgot Satan works loud, and promote everything negative, like a huge church called COOS on a mission to deny people who are born different a life.
From this session, I realized that there are many different types of homosexual according to how they deal with their problems. First there are the kind who know that this is wrong and they abstain from such behavior and act normal. However this kind of reaction is dangerous as it may lead to seeking of pornography and masturbation as a form of fulfilling their hunger. The root of the problem is still there. Then there is the kind who leads double lifestyles where they are married with kids but have homosexual relations outside their marriage and it is kept secret from their wives. This most often leads to the danger of STD from their promiscuous double life and when the cat is let out of the bag, it may lead to divorces which lead to broken families and having emotional strain on the kids. The third kinds are the activist who promote their form of lifestyle as good and seek to decriminalize homosexuality in countries and also to criminalize speaking against them and saying that this is wrong and is a problem ought to be solved. This is what is happening to Singapore right now where the government is considering amending section 377 of the penal code which as it is now criminalize homosexuality. However Singapore long has a close one eye policy where though it is illegal but no one has been charged under it yet for as long as it happens in private and not forced upon another. However in my opinion this should not be amended as it would lead to a slippery slope of legalizing gay marriages, allowing adoption of children by gay couples and giving gay couples the same rights as heterosexual parents. Imagine how detrimental it would be to the social fabric of our society. Singapore is a small country who relies on its people as it only resources to compete and survive. Faced with birthrates, are we encouraging behavior which would further decline our birthrate, but allowing same sex marriages and exposing our children to such a concept which in the long run would destroy our society. Not at all, we need to have a society with strong family structure to encourage people to start normal families breeding normal and healthy children who would grow up to be our resource and ensure our survival as a nation for the times to come.
Yet again mentions of STDs on line with homosexuality. These are lies that is only presented by the Christian anti-gay circle. Ask any doctor, and they would tell you all STDs do not discriminate. In fact, most carriers of STDs are heterosexual... (twilight zone theme). And again, the illusion of the gay agenda, and the 'human survival' theme. They forgot to inform people that overpopulation is a problem in today's world. Again the heterosexual dictatorship over homosexuals, heterosexuals now in Singapore can have oral and anal and run free, homosexuals must stay in the closet. I wonder if this boy sees the utter prejudice.
The rest of this paragraph depicts the ex-gay, the closeted gay and the pro-gay, and taught in line with ex-gay ministries. I hope one day this shallow boy opens his mind and see the world, sans the labels and closeting himself only four walls in the church and not seeing the world outside. Now the word 'concept' to describle homosexuality. That is new, and ridiculous. It is a sexual orientation. No wonder so many Singaporeans choose to turn to atheism, on the face of such militancy.
Pro gay activist would argue that being homosexual is something natural and not a choice however many research and evidence of cases from choices ministry have shown otherwise. Homosexual behavior is not genetic but rather due problems which developed during upbringing of a child or incidents which leave scars in certain points of a person’s life. An example is when during the development of a male child for example; he needs a father to teach him during around 12 years of age to detach from his mother and how to be a man. If this is absent in a case of single parents or the father is simply to busy to spend time with the child, the problem remains till puberty and the next stage of development which is sex is confused with the early stage of need a male figure. Thus this would lead to the confusion of needing a male for sex which develops the homosexual behavior and many people just seem to have the feeling but the root of the problem here which they fail to realize is the lack of a father figure during childhood development.
Again, the parents absence theory. For most people who knows the real hard truth, they would know this science is yelped only by ex-gay ministry affiliated doctors. No doctors with a sane mind approves such theories, because this would lead to the assumption that all often absent parent produces all homosexual children. The problem with the untrained mind is they think, but never research. Heterosexual children are also faced with parent absence, but why are they not homosexual then?
This would lead to parents who has always been there with their children to be blamed for a natural orientation given by God when it happens. And the equation is so easily rejected: If absent father + abandoned boy = homosexual and absent mother + abandoned girl = lesbian, then absent father and mother + abandoned child = orphan = asexual? Or absent father + abandoned girl = ? This last line is equated by ex-gay ministries that in the face of an absent father, the girl would take a male lead and become a tomboy and a lesbian. This after the absent mother theory that they say would make the girl closer to her father and therefore will become a tomboy and a lesbian. So you understand now the junk science by theses ex-gays? So does that mean the prescence of both parents + loved child = bisexual?
Another case is where in the case of a single parent family, and the mother or father is so domineering and fearful that the child develops a fear for the particular sex and generalize all sex to be like that. Therefore a male with a domineering mother would have a phobia towards females and would not seek to find intimacy in females and would turn to males instead. The last example is when a person such as a girl finds herself being cheated by a man in a relationship and makes her loses her faith in males. This would lead to a phobia for males and causes the development of homosexual behavior for females to seek solace and protection from men.
Anyone reading this would realise it totally contradicts itself again. So does that mean when a female with a domineering mother would have a phobia towards females and go sleep with males instead? That would be a sin too, rite? And the cheated by man thingy. Wow. This would mean ALL female divorcees because of men commiting adultery outside, are lesbians. Can someone please prove this, or shut up?
From the above, we can see that homosexuality is not genetic or anything natural but what I would call forced choices by circumstances and environment. Therefore it is a problem and people need to want to seek help for it and turn from their homosexual ways.
It is amazing what such militant organization can do to a boy like this. It is boring to paste, but: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/justthefacts.html
I have no doubts that it is possible for someone to be homosexual inlearnt. But please spare a thought for those homosexuls who are inborn. Nothing is more annoying than to use minority junk science as a representation of a majority, especially when the majority of homosexuals found out they are homosexuals by 6 years of age, have no problems whatsoever with their parents, have no problems communicating with men and women... and please take care of your own heterosexual sins before you judge homosexuals....
In conclusion I would like to say that homosexuality is a problem and a serious one and I would urge people who have friends with such problems to seriously pray for them and hope that they would be willing to accept help and want to change. Finally I pray that god would bless Singapore as a nation that we and our leaders would stand strong against the negative influence of the world and not amend the penal code to legalize gays as it would risk the destruction of our society and make it illegal for churches or anyone to speak against them as we are the protecting our children from the evils of our world and helping to keep them pure, god loving and faith children of god. I finally pray for people who have such problems to not be shy about it but rather faced it and truthfully seek help for the problems you have. May god bless all of us. Amen
Yes, trully, may God bless us all when these untrained minds are further controlled by an anti-gay exlcusive brethren bent on destroying homosexual people's lives just because they feel their heterosexuality is superior.
P.S. - I find it absolutely repulsive that they say they are to protect their children from people like homosexuals, when countless children unfortunately born with homosexuality are being bullied and violently abused everywhere. They are actually mindless enough to think that homosexuality is a virus that can infect children. Sorry to say this. Homosexuality is not a contagious disease. Prejudice and discrimination is.
Be aware parents with children in COOS, when your children comes home all muddied and with scars all over their bodies. You must then choose whether to go against the people who promotes discrimination enough to spurt such violence against your children just because they may be born different, or condone their behaviour because you believe what junk other people defines for you more than your kids.
Or worse, they say it is you and your spouses' fault.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Despite efforts to lobby against the retention of gay sex laws in the city-state's first major penal code amendments in 22 years, the gay community will have to bear double the insult as the laws will sit between proposed laws against necrophilia and bestiality.
Under a Bill introduced in Singapore's parliament on Monday, current laws criminalising sex between men will be retained although laws criminalising oral and anal sex between heterosexuals will be repealed.
The proposed amendments, which was made available to the public since Nov 9 last year, will see no change to Section 377A which provides for a jail sentence for up to two years should a man is found to have committed “an act of gross indecency" with another man, either in public or private.
The Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, which was read the first time in Parliament on Monday, codifies the existing Section 377A “Outrages on decency” between the new Section 377 “Sexual penetration of a corpse" and Section 377B “Sexual penetration with living animal."
In April, the Law Society of Singapore said in its official feedback to the proposed amendment of the Penal Code that “the retention of s.377A in its present form cannot be justified” and recommended the section to be repealed.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was quoted as saying in the Straits Times today that public feedback on the issue had been “emotional, divided and strongly expressed,” with the majority calling for the section to be retained.
"MHA recognises that we are generally a conservative society and that we should let the situation evolve," MHA said.
Ms Indranee Rajah, former chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Law and Home Affairs, reiterated the MHA’s “assurance” that it would not actively prosecute people under that section.
“But in recognition of the fact that there is still quite a strong majority uncomfortable with homosexuality, the section must stay,” she said.
In April, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew surprised many when he questioned the city-state’s ban on gay sex.
"If in fact it is true, and I have asked doctors this, that you are genetically born a homosexual — because that's the nature of the genetic random transmission of genes — you can't help it. So why should we criminalise it?" He told a youth rally.
In a recent International Herald Tribune interview, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said: “China has already allowed and recognised gays, so have Hong Kong and Taiwan. It's a matter of time. But we have a part Muslim population, another part conservative older Chinese and Indians.”
Other advocates of repeal include Member of Parliament Baey Kam Keng and Nominated Members of Parliament Siew Kum Hong who both spoke against keeping Section 377A on the books at a public forum on the issue in July.
Another amendment that has attracted intense debate is Section 375 which defines spousal rape. Under the proposed amendment, a man is deemed to have not broken any laws if he rapes his wife unless she is living separately from him, has ﬁled for a separation/divorce or applied for a protection order from the court.
Other amendments include the proposal to criminalise "sexual grooming" of minors under 16 by adults above 21 years of age who have “met or communicated with the minor on 2 or more previous occasions” as well as Singaporeans who have sex with minors under 18 locally and overseas (Section 376). Local media have reported that around 600 men travel from Singapore to the nearby Indonesian island of Batam each weekend for sex with teenaged girls.
The second reading is scheduled for Oct 17 when Parliament will debate on the Bill.
Yuki's thoughts: I am going to let a commentator of the topic of the above site to share his thoughts. He could not have said it any better :-
rockhudson says :
Just two days ago in Singapore's Parliament, the Minister for Home Affairs was tabling the admendments to the Penal Code (Chapter 224). Widely expected revisions were provisions for racial or religious hate crimes, removal of mandatory punishments and changes to the archaic unnatural sex statute. However, one significant part of the unnatural sex law have again failed the review. This time however, the Penal Code is being refined in definition, which is much needed. For instance, rape was previously defined as forced sexual intercourse on a woman by a man, now sexual intercourse will be defined as the penetration of the penis into the vagina only, and previously it was impossible to rape a man, now there is a new section for sexual assault by penetration (Section 376). This new provision however further punches holes into the Government's argument for the retention of Section 377A, for in future sexual intercourse with a male minor with or without his consent, will be persecutable under Section 376 and Section 377A, resulting in possible double jeopardy, and more so if the male minor is under 16 (Section 376A). Not only is having consensual sex with a male minor illegal henceforth but also the communication prior to the act is punishable, even if the act never did happened.
Many groups have called for the repeal of the archaic unnatural sex laws, including from sectors within the government itself, so why did the Ministry only introduce admendments to Section 377 and not Section 377A? This is without a shadow of doubt, the high-handed government-endorsed oppression and discrimination of the gay community. The government is never one to be held down by public opinion, not even by opposition to their unpopular policies no matter how sensitive it may be, willingly sacrificing any sacred cows in the name of progress, so why have they been so attentive to the anti-homosexual camp on this one particular sensitive issue? Interestingly, anal and oral sex is perfectly fine for heterosexuals but not for homosexuals, for reasons that cannot hold any water. Previously, the criminalisation of unnatural sex acts was justified by that Singapore is a conservative society and that all religions and cultures in Singapore don't endorse such unnatural and unproductive practices. If so, why have such anti-conservative and unproductive sexual acts be permissible between heterosexuals now? Need I say more.
This is not part of the "homosexual agenda", nor is it about the gay minority, but it is an issue of civil liberties. If the government can choose to refuse a law-abiding group such fundamental rights, what else can they not do? The government is clearly using the Law to discriminate and oppress the gay minority, otherwise how do you explain this situation? The Law is supposed to protect the discriminated and the disadvantaged, not to perpetuate their suffering and indignation. Like how the US Supreme Court held up civil liberties during the 60's in the face of majority opposition for equal rights for the blacks and other minorities, similarly the government should make full use of their high moral ground and strong mandate, and work towards a more inclusive society and for the good of every citizen, gay or straight.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
As such, The Journey Of Yuki hereby will be my personal blog with little discussions in regards to the community separated from Reflections Asia; while Reflections Asia, with the actual advocacy work being done,would be the portal for all of the LGTs to get together, be affirmed and be edified in and as who we are.
I hope you will all find Reflections Asia a worthwhile read, with the sharing of information and education, news and articles, testimonies and stories, and also a watchdog for ex-gay ministries in Asia.
New Authors and Contributors are also welcomed to help out in this new site for all of us.
The Reflections Asia link is: http://reflectionsasia.wordpress.com/. Thank you and will share more soon. : )
So where the hell is hell?
"The Valley of Hinnom"
As Bible translations become purer, we find that references to Hell vanish from the pages of the Bible. Most translations only contain the word "Hell" a dozen times or so and many do not contain the word at all. The primary word some Bibles translate "Hell" is the Greek word "Gehenna."
This "Gehenna" is the valley in the Old Testament called "ga ben Hinnom" or "the valley of the son of Hinnom," also called "Tophet," a valley in which Israel burned their own children. (Note that it was God's own people who did the burning, NOT God Himself, who thought such a deed was utterly detestable! Jer. 32:35)
The Scriptures also foretell that this abominable valley would one day become a garden. Below are some pictures of this very valley in Israel which many Christians believe is Hell. It's rather ironic that the other valleys around it are barren and filled with graves, while the valley orthodox Christianity calls "Hell" has become a garden. Let God and His word be true and every man a liar.
Check out the presumably real photos of hell here:
Maybe it is a just mysterious location on the earth:
It may be the legendary crust of the earth as we all would usually believe, or it could be in space!
Yuki's choice reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
She loves children and her lifelong dream is to be a wife and a mother, but the raspy voice and masculine frame betray the fact that Leona Lo was born a man.
Unlike many other transsexuals in Asia who prefer to live privately because of the social stigma of sex change, the British-educated, Singaporean transsexual woman has chosen to live a normal life, but in public.
Smart, confident and articulate, the communications specialist who heads her own public relations company has embarked on a mission to help turn around the "culture of shame" surrounding transsexuals in Singapore and the region.
"Somewhere out there, not just in Singapore but throughout Asia, there are lots of young people who are suffering the way I suffered years ago," Leona, 32, tells AFP in an interview.
In her former life as a man, she was called Leonard.
These days, she draws on her experiences of gender identity crisis, rejection and discrimination to challenge social mores on behalf of the so-called silent community.
"It's this entire culture of shame that gets under your skin. It's not something that you can isolate and demolish because it is so much a part of our culture," she says.
While a few transsexuals are gaining prominence in Asia -- notably China's Jin Xing -- most continue to live in silence.
In May, a 32-year-old South Korean transsexual entertainer, whose sex alteration led the country to change its family registry laws, married her rapper boyfriend.
Parinya "Nong Toom" Charoenphol's rags-to-riches story was made into a movie, "Beautiful Boxer." Former Chinese People's Liberation Army colonel and now woman Jin Xing is a prize-winning dancer and choreographer.
Slim and taller than the average local woman, Leona packs charm and gets animated when talking about children.
But her lipsticked mouth creases into a pensive smile when she says: "I can't bear children. I have to be on hormones for life and I have this body structure of a guy."
The hormone treatment has "feminised" the former man. While traces of masculinity are evident, Leona says she has already come to terms with being a woman -- although a transsexual one.
"I can't deny that biologically I'm different," says Leona, wearing a blue dress, the muscles on her shoulders and arms clearly visible.
Discrimination is the biggest challenge faced by transsexuals, she says, recalling repeated rejection by prospective employers in Singapore despite her academic credentials.
"Singapore may be a cosmopolitan city, but many things are still swept under the carpet," Leona says.
No reliable figures on the number of transsexual men and women in Singapore, or the region, are available, mainly because those who feel they have been born in the wrong body prefer to endure their situation in silence rather than embarrass their families, Leona says.
"It's because a lot of transsexual women face discrimination at work and experience failure of relationships that a lot end up in suicide, depression. They end up on the streets as prostitutes," she says.
This is why she has taken time away from her thriving public relations consultancy promoting beauty products to wage her campaign.
After much persuasion, one local university allowed her to speak to an audience of students but she is finding it hard to pry open a window to share her thoughts in the corporate world.
On September 14 she is to launch her autobiography, "From Leonard to Leona -- A Singapore Transsexual's Journey to Womanhood."
From Singapore, Leona plans to travel across Asia to bring her message for greater tolerance of gender diversity.
Medical experts on gender believe transsexualism is a medical condition, and that transsexuals are different from transvestites and homosexuals.
In contrast, transvestites are always males and do not dislike their genitalia although they may derive sexual arousal through dressing as women, Goh said.
For transsexuals, dressing as a man or a woman for one year before a sex change operation is part of the transition process and is not related to any sexual pleasure, the experts say. The surgery is "the finishing touch," Goh wrote.
Leona says the association of transsexuals with prostitution in Singapore harks back to the 1960s when there was a flourishing culture of drag queens, including some transsexuals, on Singapore's Bugis Street.
As Singapore transformed rapidly into a modern Asian business centre, the government cracked down on Bugis Street. Transsexuals were lumped together with homosexuals, transvestites and prostitutes.
It was in this environment that the young Leonard -- Leona's original identity -- grew up.
As early as age 10, Leonard had already started developing feelings for boys.
But he was forced to remain silent because of a dearth of information about transsexualism and for fear his traditional Chinese family would be scandalised.
"I did not think I was gay. I just felt that I was a woman trapped in a man's body," says Leona, who has a younger sister.
At age 15, Leonard discovered a book about transsexualism, which sowed the seeds of his eventual decision to undergo a sex-change operation in 1997.
"I discovered that book in the library and I said 'Oh my God! There are actually people like me!'" she reminisces.
"That changed my life and I discovered that I could go for the sex change operation."
As an able-bodied man, Leonard entered Singapore's compulsory two-year military service at around 19.
Pressures of being forced to be "macho" during the training led to a nervous breakdown and drove him to attempt suicide by drug overdose, she says.
After military service, Leonard in 1996 went to study in Britain, where a more tolerant university environment allowed him to cross-dress for a year as part of his preparation for sex-change surgery.
In 1997, Leonard flew with his tuition money from Britain to Bangkok, where he walked into a clinic for the life-altering operation.
"I was afraid. I could go in and I could die. But I knew at that point that I was going to change my life forever," she recalls.
"I had carried that burden within me for so long and I couldn't live anymore without doing it."
Leona endured a lot of pain during the procedure, which took 14 days, but the feeling of having a new identity was "wonderful, euphoric!"
She warns other transsexuals who might be considering sex change surgery that getting a new identity "is not a magic wand" and they will have to live under a culture of shame and discrimination.
Family support is crucial. Her mother was the first person she told after the operation, and her father had already learned to accept her for who she is.
"By that time, they had already decided that they would rather have me as a woman than lose me as a child," she says.
What is her dream now?
"To be a wife and a mother," she says. "I look forward to a fulfilling relationship with a loving man, getting married and adopting three children.
"I've also reached a critical juncture where I'm more self-assured and finally able to lay to rest the painful aspects of my past and move confidently as a woman."
Yuki's thoughts: An inspiration to me, the work I do, and what we hope to accomplish for the future.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
(AP) Recently, a scene showing a kiss on the lips was a big deal for the wildly popular "High School Musical," but fans will be even more surprised this time around with a recent nude image posted on the Internet of one of the movie's top stars.
Vanessa Hudgens' representative has confirmed that a nude photo circulating on the Internet is indeed the 18-year-old star of Disney Channel's wildly popular "High School Musical" movies.
"This was a photo which was taken privately," said Jill Fritzo, Hudgens' publicist, on Friday. "It is a personal matter and it is unfortunate that this has become public."
The photo shows the 18-year-old actress standing naked in what appears to be a bathroom, with a red shower curtain behind her.
The Disney Channel, part of the Walt Disney Co., denied a published report that Hudgens will be dropped from the upcoming feature film "High School Musical 3." That movie is in development, and negotiations with the stars are incomplete.
Disney had no further comment about the pictures.
Hudgens portrayed Gabriella, the brainy love interest of Zac Efron's basketball star in the first two "High School Musical" made-for-cable movies. The two are said to be dating in real life.
"High School Musical 2" attracted more than 17 million viewers for its Disney Channel premiere in August, the most-watched television program of the summer.
Yuki's choice reading:
The confirmation of events here:
The PR disaster for Disney's High School Musical here:
The apology here:
The photo of her, in the nude, here:
The higher resolution photo of her, in the nude here:
Sorry guys, let us not rub salt into people's wounds, kay?....
Yuki's thoughts: I still respect her. At least she admits and apologizes for her unhealthy heterosexual lifestyle. But what would the Christian community think about this? What would they do? Nothing I guess. Apparently the heterosexual sin is 'natural' for them. Better naked girls than naked guys, rite?
Because I had different interests, because I didn’t feel comfortable in the laddish drinking culture that was prevalent in English football in the late 1980s, it was generally assumed by my teammates that there was something wrong with me. It followed, naturally, that I must be gay.
For 14 years I had to listen to that suggestion repeated in vivid and forthright terms from thousands of voices in the stands. It was a lie. I am not gay and never have been, yet I became a victim of English football’s last taboo.
The homophobic taunting and bullying left me close to walking away from football. I went through times that were like depression. I did not know where I was going. I would get up in the morning and would not feel good and by the time I got into training I would be so nervous that I felt sick. I dreaded going in. I was like a bullied kid on his way to school to face his tormentors.
It started in the summer of 1991, in my first spell at Chelsea. We had what is known as “a strong dressing-room” –a euphemism for a group of players who are very good at dishing out stick. It was not a place for shrinking violets and in the first few days of preseason training, when the banter flies around more than ever, there was a lot of talk about where people had been for their holidays.
I had had a good summer. I was 22 and had just broken into the first team. Over the previous 18 months I had become friends with two of the forerunners of Chelsea’s foreign legion: Ken Monkou and Erland Johnsen. Erland invited us to visit him in Norway. When the season finished, I took Ken to Jersey, where I’d grown up, and then we drove up through France, Belgium and the Netherlands and flew to see Erland.
We had a good time. When the trip was over, Ken headed back to London, Erland went on honeymoon to the Caribbean and I went on holiday with my girlfriend. When I got back to Chelsea and the boys asked me where I had been, I told them. Somebody – I cannot remember who – said: “Oh, so you went camping with Ken.”
There was a bit of chortling and sniggering. It got to me straight away. I told them we had not gone camping, we had been staying in hotels. But it stuck. It became a running gag. And soon, to my horror, it was on the grapevine that Ken and I were an item.
I was sensitive and pretty naive and took things more seriously than I should have done. I reacted to gibes when I should have laughed them off. By the time I changed my approach it was too late. Training became an ordeal. Everybody regarded me as an outsider. I was an easy target because I did not fit in. The only people I knew in London were students, so I turned up at training with my student look: jeans rolled up, Pringle socks and my rucksack with The Guardian in it. For much of my career, reading The Guardian was used as one of the most powerful symbols of how I was supposed to be weirdly different. Pathetic, really. It gave substance to the gossip that I was homosexual: Guardian reader equals gay boy. Some people really thought that added up.
Andy Townsend got on the bus to a game and saw me reading the paper, picked it up and said he wanted to look at the sport. He threw it back down a couple of seconds later. “There’s no f***ing sport in here,” he said. The rest of the lads laughed.
They had already pigeonholed me as a loner. But I was not a loner. Away from football I was pretty sociable. It was just that because of my background, I was not what footballers regarded as typical. I got the impression they had not come across anyone like me before and the rumours that I was gay stemmed from not fitting in. I became the target of day-to-day ribbing, which got worse and worse. I had never had any problem with bullying before. Being a pariah was new to me.
The more successful I got, the more it became an issue. In those days, if anyone thought you were even slightly effeminate, you were in trouble. I already felt as if the odds were stacked against me, without being pitched into a world of double entendres, nudging and winking.
The more my supposed homo-sexuality became a topic of humour, the more upset I became. I was confronting people all the time. It felt as if everybody in the dressing-room was in on it, even Gwyn Williams, one of the coaches. He would wander up to me before training and say: “Come on, poof, get your boots on.” Nobody in authority said: “Lads, this is getting a bit silly.” The rumours were out of control.
The p***-taking started around the beginning of July and eight weeks later my worst fears were realised. On September 7 we played West Ham United at Upton Park. I got the ball on the left flank and played it upfield. Then the chant started.
It came from the hardcore fans in the North Bank, set to the tune of the Village People’s Go West. “Le Saux takes it up the a***,” they yelled, again and again. I stood in shock. “Oh my God, that’s it,” I thought. I knew fans everywhere were going to make my life a misery.
Justin Fashanu had “come out” a year earlier and even though his career was practically over, he was ridiculed and scorned for his admission. A few years later, he committed suicide.
My preoccupation with being isolated and ostracised was turning into reality. It frightened me and I did not know how to deal with it. I did not know who to be angry with because it was my teammates who had started it. Yet nobody mentioned the chanting when we got back to the dressing-room. Maybe it did not register with some of them and I did not say: “Thanks a lot for that, boys.” I was very insecure, very nervous. I did not feel I could trust anybody.
After that game, the chanting became a regular event. The pressure I was under was immense. I would go on to the pitch knowing that I was going to get a torrent of abuse before I even kicked a ball. If there was a lull in the game, I was the fallback option and the taunting would start. If the home team’s fans got bored, they would start singing about me. I tried hard to prevent it. I stood up for myself and got angry with those who pushed it too far, but it went crazy. It became an urban myth and was talked about as if it was fact.
Everything I did was used as evidence that I was gay. The way I dressed, the music I listened to, the fact that I went to art galleries, the newspaper I read, turned into more clues about my sexuality. The variety of insults aimed at gay people became my specialist subject.
The worst thing was when I would go to get the ball for a corner or throw-in and there would be somebody a couple of feet away from me in the front row. Their faces would be contorted with aggression and they would be screaming homophobic abuse, vicious stuff. When it was that close and one-on-one, it was shocking.
Pretty soon, opposition players were winding me up about it. I was in my second spell at Chelsea when the real problems began. From the time the rumours first surfaced, I got plenty of comments from other players about being a “faggot” or a “queer”. Robbie Savage seemed to get a particular thrill out of it, but I guess that will not surprise anybody. I told him he should say it to me at the end of the game when I had tackled him a few times; see if he still wanted to call me a poof then.
It was irrational, schoolboy behaviour. Most of the time I let it go. But when Chelsea played Liverpool at Anfield in October 1997, Paul Ince repeatedly wound me up and I gave him a taste of his own medicine.
Paul and I had always got on well. We were England teammates and I respected him. Paul was really wired during the game. He would get so frantic in matches that his eyes would glaze over. I had been clattered a few times when he took my legs and left me on the deck. Then he started jabbering away at me. “Come on, you f***ing poof,” he said. “Get up, there’s nothing wrong with you.”
He said it a few times. I let it go. People get called a poof all the time in football. But it was loaded when people aimed it at me.
A few minutes later he did me again and started yelling the same stuff. I snapped. I said something that I knew would hurt him. I insulted his wife.
Paul went ballistic. He was livid. He spent the rest of the match trying to kick lumps out of me. When the final whistle went I was going down the tunnel when I caught sight of him out of the corner of my eye, about to land a punch. I ducked out of the way and scarpered. The guy had lost it completely; he wanted to kill me. He was a prime example of someone who could dish it out but could not take it. He had been calling me all the names, personal stuff that he must have known would hurt, and yet as soon as I retaliated in kind, he could not cope.
I did not feel proud of what I had said. I knew his wife, Claire, and I liked her. It was not about her, though, it was about letting him know what it was like to put up with abuse. Paul quickly turned it round in his mind so that I was the villain. Since then our relationship has been very cold.
The gay slurs were putting me in a difficult situation. It was hard to keep denying that I was homosexual without being disrespectful to the gay community. I have gay friends and I do not judge them. I am not homophobic; a gay player in a team I was playing for would not be an issue for me.
But when supporters and other players accused me of being gay, it bothered me. I never believed there was anything wrong with being gay, but I felt that if it came to be accepted that I was, I would be unable to continue as a professional footballer. That is how deep-seated the prejudice in the game is.
That is why I fought back as strongly as I did. I wondered whether it was defamatory, being called gay if you were not, and in the context of football I think it is because it could end your career. No manager would want to sign you. It is a terrible indictment of the sport, but it is true.
We have got past pretty much everything else. The problems with racism are not over, but they are on the wane. You do not get people making monkey noises at English grounds or throwing bananas on the pitch. But there is still terrible prejudice within football. People pick on weaknesses. You have to deal with being constantly derided for the most trivial matters: your trainers, your haircut, your picture in the newspaper. It is endless and can be draining. If you can make someone else look stupid, that is the ideal.
Given the peer pressure, I do not think a modern footballer could come out as gay without immediately becoming isolated from his team. The group would be too hostile for him to survive. Football has not had to face up to a group of gay footballers saying: “How are you going to deal with us?”
The sport has not confronted homophobia because the gay footballers who are playing in our leagues are too frightened to declare their sexuality and cope with the backlash. Unless there is a powerful voice for a minority group, football will never make provision for it.
The abuse I had to suffer would be multiplied a hundredfold for a player who was openly gay. The burden would be too much. I think of the stick I had from the fans and it made me feel nervous before I got on the pitch. I knew I would be targeted in the warm-up. Every time I ran to the side there was a group of people giving me abuse.
Suddenly, all the anger and prejudice hidden away under the surface of everyday life starts spewing out of them. You get a sense of the mentality of the mob. If the game starts badly they will turn their anger and their frustration on you. And then a whole stadium will start singing about how you take it up the a***.
Sometimes you cannot blot it out. At Anfield once I went over to the touchline to get the ball because a kid in the crowd was holding it. He was no more than 10 and his dad was next to him. “You f***ing poof, you take it up the a***,” he screamed at me. His dad joined in. I stopped and looked at him. “Who do you think you are talking to like that?” I asked. Of course, everyone else piled in. But sometimes you have to draw the line and say: “That is wrong, you don’t treat people that way.”
Famously, there was another time when I stood up for myself, when I refused to look the other way. I had a family by then and my wife, Mariana, brought our newborn child, Georgina, to her first game. It was Liverpool again, but this time it was not a ten-year-old who was the problem. It was Robbie Fowler.
I had admired Robbie when he was a young player. He was a magnificent finisher, one of the best natural strikers I have seen. But as people, he and I are as far apart as possible. His trademark is sarcastic, put-down humour and an irreverent, caustic attitude. If that is how he plays, fine. But Robbie did not know when to stop. When things became unacceptable, he appeared ignorant of his social responsibilities and the consequences of his actions.
The Chelsea–Liverpool match at Stamford Bridge in 1999 was a high-tempo game and early in the second half I moved to clear the ball from left back. Robbie tried to block it but fouled me. I went down and Paul Durkin, the referee, booked him. Robbie looked at me. “Get up, you poof,” he said.
I stayed on the turf to get treatment and by then Robbie was standing ten yards away. The ball was in front of me, ready for the free kick. I looked at Robbie. He started bending over and pointing his backside in my direction. He looked over his shoulder and started yelling at me. He was smirking. “Come and give me one up the a***,” he said, repeating it three or four times.
The Chelsea fans were going berserk. The linesman was standing right next to me. He could see what Robbie was doing but did not take any action, not even to call Durkin over. Everyone knew what the gesture meant. There was not much room for interpretation. I asked the linesman what he was going to do. He stood there with a look of panic.
So I waited. Robbie could see he was winding me up and I suppose that gratified him, so he carried on doing it. I told the linesman I would not take the free kick until he stopped. It was a big moment, a stand-off.
What Robbie did provided a chance for people to confront a serious issue and I wish Durkin had sent him off for ungentlemanly conduct. Football had a chance to make a stand that day and Durkin would have been fêted for it. There could have been a strong statement that blatant homophobia would not be tolerated and maybe it would have been a turning point, taking some of the stigma away for gay footballers.
But football did not make a stand. Durkin ran over and booked me for time-wasting. I was dumbfounded. I asked if he was just going to let Robbie get away with it. He did not say anything. He said later that he had not seen what Robbie was doing, but I wonder if he simply did not want to deal with it. No one did. My head filled with anger. I still did not want to take the free kick. Perhaps I should have just refused to and been sent off. That would at least have forced the issue, but it would also have made me a martyr for the cause and I did not want that. Robbie stopped bending over. I took the kick.
Some people compared what happened to sledging in cricket, but those exchanges stay between the players on the pitch. That is where I believe Robbie crossed the line and betrayed the sport. When a fellow professional does something like that to you, when he mocks you for public consumption, I cannot accept it as part of the game.
I never saw anyone do that to another player. I felt that Fowler’s action – because it was so blatant – betrayed me, too. He broke the code. Black players have had plenty of abuse aimed at them, but no fellow player has ever made a public gesture like that. Robbie would not dream of miming insults to a black player, so why did he feel it was acceptable to incite me by sticking out his backside?
I was consumed with thoughts of vengeance. I could not calm down. I ran to the halfway line and tried to confront Robbie. I told him my family was in the stand. “Bollocks to your family,” he said. In his autobiography, Robbie wrote that I ran up to him and shouted “but I’m married” and he replied “so was Elton John, mate”. It is a nice line and makes him look funny, which is the most important thing to him, but he used dramatic licence. He did not say that.
I should have come off, really. My head was gone. I was not even concentrating on the game. I felt humiliated, as if the anger of so many years was welling up inside me. Eventually, the ball was played down the left side and Robbie made a run towards our penalty area. I came across and ran straight into him with a swing of the elbow. Thankfully I am not very good at it. We had a few more tussles, then Robbie caught me on the calf and I had to come off. The most traumatic match of my career was over.
I was still incredibly angry after the game. I went to see Durkin. I had heard that the cameras had captured my elbow on Robbie and I wanted to explain why I had done it. Dermot Gallagher, the fourth official, said that he had seen the whole thing with Robbie jutting out his backside. He started talking about the amount of stick he had had over the years for being Irish. I asked Durkin about the booking. I asked why I had been time-wasting when we were playing at home and the score was 1–1. He did not have an answer. I asked the linesman again why he had not done anything and he did not want to engage.
The aftermath was awful. I got buried because I had tried to take out Robbie off the ball. That was fair enough. But it seemed bizarre that people focused on this rather than the extreme provocation. Because I had reacted, a lot of people wanted to excuse Robbie for what he had done. Three days after the game, the FA charged us both with misconduct.
I sent him a letter of apology and got a letter from him, too. Not an apology, just an attempt to save face, couched in legal niceties and drafted by a lawyer or agent, designed to appease the FA tribunal before it sat in judgment. It was a sad excuse, really, an insult to the intelligence.
Later, in his autobiography, Robbie wrote: “Football’s a tough sport and to get to the top you have to be incredibly thick-skinned. A bit of name-calling never hurt anyone and the truth is I wasn’t being homophobic, merely trying to exploit a known weakness in an opponent who had done me a number of times.”
It is an interesting line of defence. According to Robbie’s rationale, it is OK to call a black man a “n*****” and pretend it is in the line of duty. I do not think so. I do not think even Robbie would argue that. He did not really have a defence and that was the best he could come up with. It was not a very good effort.
A month after Robbie offered me his backside, we were picked in the England squad. There was an awkward reunion at Burnham Beeches. Robbie did not have quite as much bravado in that situation. He looked like a naughty little boy.
Kevin Keegan was the manager and he wanted us to stage a public reconciliation for the press. I said immediately that unless Robbie said sorry, that was not going to happen. I did not want a public apology, just a private word would do. But he refused. He said that he had done nothing wrong, that it was just a bit of a laugh.
Keegan started to back off at that point. He was not qualified to deal with it, but I felt more confident. I was determined to stand up for myself. I confronted Robbie while we were in Keegan’s room. I pointed out that if he had taken the p*** out of someone like that in the middle of London’s Soho, where the gay clubs are, he would have been chased down the street and beaten up.
Even then, Robbie could not resist it. When I mentioned the gay clubs, he muttered: “You’d know where they are.” I told him I would be professional on the training pitch, but that there was no way I was going to shake his hand. I felt bolstered by the debate the incident had caused and relieved that the issue was in the open.
From that moment, there was less animosity in the chants. The debate about what happened had exposed it for the puerile cruelty, the out and out bullying, that it was. I do not feel any animosity towards Robbie now, but the stuff he sought to justify nearly drove me out of the game.
On April 9, six weeks after the original incident and six days after Robbie had got himself in more trouble by pretending to snort the white lines on the pitch at Anfield during a goal celebration in a Merseyside derby, we attended separate FA disciplinary hearings. I got a one-match ban and a £5,000 fine, but they hammered Robbie. He was dealing with the fallout from his mock cocaine-snorting antics as well as what he did to me and it provided a fascinating glimpse of the governing body’s moral code.
It gave Robbie a much harsher punishment for making what was clearly a joke than it did for his attempt to humiliate me and encourage homophobia. I wonder if Robbie appreciated the irony of that. He did something as a retort to malicious rumours, yet was happy to exploit a malicious rumour spread about me. Robbie got a two-match ban for taunting me and a four-match ban for his goal celebrations at Anfield. As I said, interesting.
The debate about what Robbie had done and the FA hearing gave me a form of closure. It was a watershed for me. After that I still got the taunts from the crowd, but the venom seemed to have gone. What Robbie had done had always been my worst fear. Now it was over, I knew that nothing could be worse than that ordeal, so nobody could offend me any more.
After the hearing, the distress I had always felt about the taunts began to ebb away. So in the end, I got there. But it did not wipe out what I had been through. It did not wash it clean. It is an indictment of our game and the prejudice it allows, but I felt a great surge of relief when I retired.
Yuki's choice reading:
(Justin Fashanu, the young football starlet, another victim of homophobia):