Wednesday October 23, 2019
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A person can choose his gender now: heights of quirkiness?

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By Nury Vittachi

New Delhi: Never has it ever been like this, but it’s true when one says to be prepared for any advancement- a person can choose his/her own gender now.

This columnist has a deeply personal announcement to make. After much consideration, I have decided to remain as a male.

I know modern society pressures us to declare ourselves transgender, transitioning, transsexual, trans-curious, trans-fat and the like, but I have decided to forgo all that trendy stuff and I hope you will support my decision, as my family comes to terms with the hard truth that dad is a man trapped in a man’s body.

Have you read the news lately?

A father just gave birth to a baby. This was after a man born a woman married a woman born a man. In each case, they changed sex but kept a selection of their original parts. You can do this now: doctors have a menu. “I’ll take two of those and one of those.”

This switch-over couple’s offspring is going to have a tough time explaining this, said reader Aalia Shan, who sent me an AP report about a mixed-up family in Ecuador. “That’s my Dad. He’s my Mom. This is my Mom. She’s my Dad.”

“Who wears the trousers in that family,” I asked. “This is 2016,” Aalia replied. “Everyone wears trousers except the Pope.”

I threw this odd-but-true news report into the lunch discussion at the local noodle shop. An unmarried young man was intrigued by the concept of partial sex changes. “I have a very strong aesthetic appreciation of the female bust but have no access to such. Should I get my own?” The general consensus was that he should consider doing so for experimentation’s sake but should be prepared to get no work done for weeks afterward.

A colleague said there was a recent case in the US of a woman who gave birth to her own grandchild with help from a doctor. Again the child ends up with the tough job of explaining it: “This is Grandma, she’s my Mom. And this is Mommy, she’s my sister.”

A UK reporter said that there had been a huge controversy in his country recently when a woman/man was crowned Miss Transgender UK but was then disqualified because organizers said he/she was “not transgender enough”. Reporters were left with a massive pronoun problem. “If we referred to him/her as either him or her we would be making a judgment, so had to call him/her him/her the whole time,” the journalist said. “On the plus side, I get paid by the word.”

It reminded me of author Sarah Caudwell’s books featuring a unisex main character called Hilary.

WARNING: If you are on the Internet and want to flirt with a Westerner named Kelly or Ashley or Meredith or Shirley or Vivian or Lynn or Kim or Jocelyn, proceed VERY CAREFULLY until you find out where they are from. “In the US, these names signify young women – in the UK, they signify ancient men,” he said.

Asia can be tricky too. I know a Sri Lankan man named Sally, a Bangladeshi man named Joy and a Hong Kong girl with possibly the most masculine-sounding name possible in English: He-man.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go set up a support group for people who are only one gender. Slogan: “Are you male or female? You are not alone.” ( IANS)

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Cataract Surgery can Make People 48% Safer on Road

Cataract surgery replaces the cloudy lens with an artificial lens

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Cataract, Surgery, Safer
They happen gradually over years, as the clear lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. Pixabay

The ability of cataract surgery to restore sight is well known and a new study suggests that it can make people 48 per cent safer on the road.

Cataracts are normal consequences of aging. They happen gradually over years, as the clear lens inside the eye becomes cloudy.

Cataract surgery replaces the cloudy lens with an artificial lens.

“The results highlight the importance of timely cataract surgery in maintaining safety and continued mobility and independence in older adult drivers,” said study author Jonathon Ng, from the University of Western Australia.

Cataract, Surgery, Safer
Cataracts are normal consequences of aging. Flickr

For the findings, presented at the 123rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the research team tested the driving performance of 44 patients before they had cataract surgery.

The driving simulator assessed a variety of variables: adjusted speed limits, traffic densities, uncontrolled intersections and pedestrian crossings.

Patients were put through the driving simulator after their first surgery and again after the second eye surgery.

After the first, near misses and crashes decreased by 35 per cent; after the second surgery, the number fell to 48 per cent.

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“While visual acuity – how well one sees the eye chart – is an important method to assess a person’s fitness to drive, it’s an incomplete assessment,” Ng said.

“Quality of vision is also an important indicator. Improved contrast sensitivity and better night vision improves drivers’ safety on the road,” the study author added.

When considering cataract surgery, the researchers revealed some points to be considered: Can you see to safely do your job and to drive?, Do you have problems reading or watching TV? Is it difficult to cook, shop? Do bright lights make is harder to see? (IANS)