Saturday, September 24, 2005

Labels matter

The 10th International Women and Health Meeting (IWHM) is going on in Delhi. On Thursday evening, I went for a stunning performance by a Malaysian troupe of transsexual persons called "Prima Donna". Several of my friends had seen them perform at the 2004 WSF at Mumbai and had come back raving, so I had to catch them this time.

I invited the friend I was supposed to have met that evening to come with me. She said she didn't want to see transvestites perform. I indignantly pointed out they were transsexuals, not transvestites, but it was all the same to her.

It is difficult to see the big deal about the varieties of social and biological genders if you don't have access to this information. Diane Wilson's site and explain the various terms quite nicely. In short, a transsexual "wants to change his or her physiological gender, and to live permanently in the new gender role", while transvestites are crossdressers.

As it turns out, the Prima Donna troupe included transsexuals as well as cross-dressers. And so awesome they were.


Abhishek Chatterjee said...

Its sad that even in today's day and age, where we beleive that urban society to be tolerant and aware about erstwhile 'taboo issuses' like sexuality, the ground reality is altogether different. By the way, the Prima donnas performed in Singapore as well, but I sadly missed them.

eM said...

So I WAS mostly right :P

Monica said...

Abhishek - I hope you do get to shake a leg with them sometime.
Em - You were as right as a cave dwelling koala!