Coming on the heels of the Miss Jamaica Universe’s group basically disagreeing with the inclusion of a previously booted transgender entrant in Canada albeit she allegedly was not clear on filling out the entry form to say she was born female, a local transgender voice has prepared a post to add her voice to the furore to look at related issues as this time.
I also feel is an opportune moment to help sensitize the public including L, B and G populations about transgenderism and transsexuals as several misconceptions abound and frankly there maybe many persons who identify as GLB but who maybe in fact transgender but do not know it or have sought the necessary consultations to find out.
see a previous post on the Jenna matter from Canada on my sister blog GLBTQ Jamaica on Blogger:
Miss Laura wrote:
Take the buggery law off the books; the buggery law hampers education about this topic. Jamaican’s on a whole consider transgender and transsexuals to be homosexuals. They are not aware that being transgender or transsexual is about a person’s gender Identity their sense of self and not sexual preference. Here in Jamaica people tend to group anything that is not considered normal (gay’s, Lesbians, transvestites, transgender, transsexuals, cross-dressers and the list goes on to be all homosexuals or as it is called (batty man, and sodomites).
Removal of the buggery law would open a door not for just gay men and women but it would also allow transgender people to feel a certain level of security knowing that the law is now on their side and can enjoy equal rights and protection.
I have heard people say that there are no transgender people in Jamaica. That’s just ridiculous and ignorant why would they state this as a fact? Well it is simple most transgender people don’t even know they are transgender or transsexual. They automatically are grouped with the gay community. Many transgender and transsexuals adopt the “GAY Life Style” hoping they would fit into the social landscape where there is friendship and protection and the possibility of feeling less of a freak and more of a normal human being.
Once the buggery law is repealed we can begin to make change in the way how people treat and associate the transgender community with homosexuals and lesbians.
What changes need to be made?
1. The health care system where transgender people can access to counselling, hormone treatments, and Sex Reassignment Surgery. At this time there are no health organisations offering transgender Services Island wide. Many transgender people access hormones mainly on the black market and or through if they are lucky a doctor who is willing to treat them on the QT. Some if they happen to have the financial resources access hormones by purchasing them online.
Many transgender people are often too poor because they cannot get jobs because of their transgender status. Many resort to prostitution due to being ejected from their families and have nowhere to go but the streets. Transgender and transsexuals seek refuge within gay communities as a means to survive.
Those lucky enough to leave the country and make their way to the US or the UK where they can access treatment and live in relative peace. Unlike here in Jamaica where you will most likely be beaten or killed because Jamaican s confuse gender with sexuality.
2. Educating the public about transgender and transsexuals will bring greater enlightenment to the masses, and change the lives of many who are wrestling with a gender identity conflict. Many transgender or transsexuals know they are different from an early age. Little boys seen playing with dolls many not be gay but might be or most likely are transgender or transsexual. Educating people of this will greatly improve the lives of these young children and lead them to a better quality of life and most likely a productive one and far from the thought of suicide.
3. Amendments to Labor laws preventing the discrimination against transgender and transsexual people in the workplace or from being denied job placements in both public and private sector organisations due to their lifestyle or mode of dress e.g. a transsexual living as a woman, dressing as a woman, but may not look feminine . Such a person would be seen as a freak and be automatically turn down for a job placement. Most transsexual’s transition late in life and this tends to be the norm in some cases some transition early in life if they have the support of family.
image from: transgenderzone.com
A late transition equals less chance of passing unless that person had many expensive surgeries to undo the many years of testosterone exposure. Where early transition starting in the teenage years can have a favourable outcome where the masculine features can be reversed and made feminine under the effects of oestrogen will most of the time produce a passable young woman.
4. Amendments allowing transgender or transsexual men and women to have the same equal right like every other non transgender or transsexual man or woman.This means individuals should have the right to marry like non transgender /transsexual people. Have the right to have their identity papers altered to fit their chosen gender Identity without being judged and told that what you’re doing in the eyes of God is wrong.
Transgender/transsexual people should have the right to equal opportunities like all other peoples that make up our diverse culture.
Over the many years of LGBT advocacy in Jamaica transgenderism has been given a back seat for too long and while a few voices speak intermittently on the issues surrounding same it is not enough to properly help the public to understand that there are many identities that abound in the human species and deciphering them is a must for us to co-exist. Major advocates seem not to have time to deal with this matter as decriminalizing buggery is far more important than the other inter and intra community matters that are parallel to men who have sex with men issues. Miss Laura is one of the few voices who have been consistent on the matter from the ground up.
Let us continue to listen to that voice and learn as only she can tell it from her own realities as a transwoman in Jamaica.
Miss Laura can be reached through this email firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace and tolerance