26 June 2009
The arrests violate the basic rights of privacy and freedom of expression, according to the New York-based organisation Human Rights Watch.
Most of the men detained were Filipinos and the Philippine embassy says they have since been released.
But they face charges of imitating women, and possession of alcohol.
The affair came to light in a Saudi newspaper, al-Riyadh, which said those arrested were celebrating the Independence Day of the Philippines at a private party in the Saudi capital on 13 June.
Police are reported to have made the arrests after spotting "suspicious behaviour".
Further investigation is said to have revealed more women's clothing, cosmetics, and alcohol.
"If the police in Saudi Arabia can arrest people simply because they don't like their clothes, no-one is safe," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
An official at the Philippine embassy said the men were set free after their respective work sponsors put up bail for them, but that charges remain.
Human Rights Watch says the Saudi authorities periodically raid gatherings at which men have allegedly worn female clothing.
It cites an example from 2005, when more than 100 men were arrested for "imitating women" and sentenced to jail terms and flogging.
On that occasion, those convicted were pardoned and released several months after their arrest.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/06/25 11:22:06 GMT
© BBC MMIX
17 June 2009
16 May 2009
MUMBAI — Pre and post-operative transsexuals in the southern Indian city of Chennai are to get their own public toilets in an effort to boost recognition of the community, a report said Monday.
Three toilets are to be built to cater for the sizeable transgender population as part of a pilot project that will begin after the upcoming general elections, the English-language Indian Express newspaper said.
Municipal commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni was quoted as saying that the scheme was aimed at "extending recognition to the community and mainstreaming them" and more facilities could be built if the public responded well to the idea.
But it has drawn a mixed response from the transgender community itself.
"I don't agree with this. We want to mingle with the mainstream. We don't want to be separated like this," said Aasha Bharati, president of the Aravanigal Association in Tamil Nadu state.
"Using separate toilets will open the way for discrimination. We want to be considered as females. In our hearts, we are women."
India's first transgender television host, Rose Venkatesan, was more positive. She said: "It is a big problem, because not everyone has undergone a sex change.
"This is a good idea but in the long run, I see a society where there is no difference and all use the same toilets."
There are about 30,000 transgendered people in Tamil Nadu state and there are thought to be about 500,000 across India. They are among the most marginalised and discriminated against in India's hierarchical, conservative society.
06 May 2009
The Ebay Shop is called ALVIPINTO http://stores.shop.ebay.in/Alvipinto__W0QQ_armrsZ1
He is selling a lot of things that maybe difficult for our Indian ladies to procure. This way of buying is quiet safe and anonymous.
28 April 2009
The world's largest democracy goes to the polls today for the first phase of multi-stage parliamentary elections. By mid May, 714 million voters will cast ballots at 800,000 polling stations. There are, all told, 1,715 candidates for office. But one of these political hopefuls is unlike any other candidate India has ever seen. Her name is Daya Rani Kinnar and she is a transsexual activist.
From the Hindustan Times:
Kinnar is a popular figure in Ghaziabad and will stand for election as an independent candidate. “I don’t mind taking on all the political heavyweights. I was born in Ghaziabad and people know me. I don’t have children. I will work only for people. I am going to give a tough fight to Rajnath Singh, who is an outsider. The sitting MP did nothing for the constituency,” Kinnar said.
Kinnar, founder of Sarva Samaj Sewa Samiti (a welfare organisation), promises a safe, developed Ghaziabad district.
Although illiterate, Kinnar is confident. City roads are already lined with her banners and hoardings. In these, she appears with a bindi on her forehead and head draped in a sari.
She is banking on the electorate’s disenchantment with politicians. “I am just like a ‘no-vote option’ button on electronic voting machines,” she said.
Unfortunately, the Indian press identifies her as a "eunuch." Still, just the fact that she feels empowered to put herself in the public lime light is itself a remarkable achievement in a society known for conservative cultural mores. This video from Russia Today reminds me that one courageous person can help break these barriers.
17 March 2009
23 February 2009
Photos by Katie Orlinsky for The New York Times: AT THE DEBUT Carmelo López Bernal, 13, at the recent annual town-wide muxe celebration, the occasion for his first appearance in the identity of a girl.
SEE MORE PHOTOS
Mexico City — Mexico can be intolerant of homosexuality; it can also be quite liberal. Gay-bashing incidents are not uncommon in the countryside, where many Mexicans consider homosexuality a sin. In Mexico City, meanwhile, same-sex domestic partnerships are legally recognized — and often celebrated lavishly in government offices as if they were marriages.
But nowhere are attitudes toward sex and gender quite as elastic as in the far reaches of the southern state of Oaxaca. There, in the indigenous communities around the town of Juchitán, the world is not divided simply into gay and straight. The local Zapotec people have made room for a third category, which they call “muxes” (pronounced MOO-shays) — men who consider themselves women and live in a socially sanctioned netherworld between the two genders.
“Muxe” is a Zapotec word derived from the Spanish “mujer,” or woman; it is reserved for males who, from boyhood, have felt themselves drawn to living as a woman, anticipating roles set out for them by the community.
Anthropologists trace the acceptance of people of mixed gender to pre-Colombian Mexico, pointing to accounts of cross-dressing Aztec priests and Mayan gods who were male and female at the same time. Spanish colonizers wiped out most of those attitudes in the 1500s by forcing conversion to Catholicism. But mixed-gender identities managed to survive in the area around Juchitán, a place so traditional that many people speak ancient Zapotec instead of Spanish.
Not all muxes express their identities the same way. Some dress as women and take hormones to change their bodies. Others favor male clothes. What they share is that the community accepts them; many in it believe that muxes have special intellectual and artistic gifts.
Every November, muxes inundate the town for a grand ball that attracts local men, women and children as well as outsiders. A queen is selected; the mayor crowns her. “I don’t care what people say,” said Sebastian Sarmienta, the boyfriend of a muxe, Ninel Castillejo García. “There are some people who get uncomfortable. I don’t see a problem. What is so bad about it?”
Muxes are found in all walks of life in Juchitán, but most take on traditional female roles — selling in the market, embroidering traditional garments, cooking at home. Some also become sex workers, selling their services to men. .
Acceptance of a child who feels he is a muxe is not unanimous; some parents force such children to fend for themselves. But the far more common sentiment appears to be that of a woman who takes care of her grandson, Carmelo, 13.
“It is how God sent him,” she said.
Katie Orlinsky contributed reporting from Juchitán, Mexico.
See Documentary film on the Muxes: