Of late I have been talking to a couple of young men who have had difficulties with their families, in the context of their sexual preferences. There is a lot of stigma young people feel, which is of course a reflection of the attitudes of families. Reminds me of the young woman I had met a couple of years ago, who told me that she was a Lesbian. I accepted the thing, and then she shared with me how her family forcibly tried to marry her off and how she resisted. Meanwhile the younger woman she had been in touch with, WAS MARRIED OFF- and their alliance broken. She is alone ever since…

She was also taken to a psychiatrist at that stage, because the parents thought that she had a ‘problem’. Thankfully the psychiatrist did not think so and he instead counseled the parents. She had to nevertheless undergo some psychiatric treatment for a short while which was not attributable to her lesbianism, but some other issue. Currently she is hale and hearty and was courageous enough to share her story with me.

Meanwhile coming back to the young men that I referred to, in the opening line, they have no such luck. I do not even think they are gays, but they just like to cross-dress– which I think could be seen as Nothing abnormal. People have various sorts of proclivities, choices and preferences. Why beat the hell out of someone for something- anything, whatever it be? Instead of going after them with the issue of sexuality, sexual preferences, or anything, if only people would learn about alternative ways, poly-vocality, multiple ways of being, they would not try to beat everyone into the same mould. Diversity could be a cause for celebration, not stigma. Young people would not waste their lives battling families and social norms, but in living productive and fruitful lives- doing something more meaningful than living in fear of how the world would react if they found out.

Both the young men are in the closet with their sexuality/gender issues, and one was so troubled that he repeatedly thought a psychiatrist could help him! Despite my recommendations that he see a counselor or psychologist, not knowing the difference, he landed up with a psychiatrist! Who can ‘save’ anyone? People have to know the difference, and respect themselves first. NO psychiatrist can make you accept yourself, if you do not. Of course, psychiatrists would not even let go of the opportunity to medicate anyone who lands at their doorstep- with real or imaginary phantoms.

I wish we would look around the world and see how in some corners, acceptance of these models is a way of life and it empowers both the person, family and society to have people around, who cross dress. Just came across a very fascinating piece from Samoa. Please read it for yourself and see how wonderfully wise this idea is- if only it would travel further, touch more lives and empower many others.

“Living alone in a tiny house just outside the Savai’i village of Alaolemativa, Hazy Pau Talauati is a Samoan man who dresses and lives as a woman. She is a fa’afafine. Like most fa’afafine in Samoa – and there are a few in most villages – Hazy is an accepted member of the community, valued for the work she does.

Samoa’s social acceptance of fa’afafine has evolved from the tradition of raising some boys as girls. These boys, were not necessarily homosexual, or noticeably effeminate, and they may never have felt like dressing as women. They became transvestites because they were born into families that had plenty of boys and not enough girls.”

Here is the rest of the article.

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