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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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Artist Renuka Rajiv Takes on Society, Gender Through Personal Narrative

Rajiv, who narrates not verbally but visually, says the "need for the visual arises from a need to communicate, but this need to communicate remains outside the realm of verbal languages."

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Rajiv described the prints as a "cathartic series" made while living in Melbourne. Flickr Commons

Exhibiting the interplay between words and visuals, a solo show by artist Renuka Rajiv critically chronicles and comments on matters of sexuality, gender, physicality and notions of family and relationships via personal narratives.

“The Future Is Not My Gender” is a multidisciplinary exhibition, showing different renditions of fabric and paper using drawings, paper mache, tie-dye and embroidery.

It is on at the Vahdera Art Gallery here till August 18.

It includes a large body of textile and embroidery works, sculptures, and twenty four monotypes selected from a larger series of three hundred prints.

The fabric works are mostly made with old garments of the artist’s family and friends.

Artist
“The Future Is Not My Gender” is a multidisciplinary exhibition. Flickr Common

“This is a moment in a long-term exploration of expressing the aspects of my reality that are outside the material world,” the Bengaluru-based artist said about the exhibition.

Rajiv described the prints as a “cathartic series” made while living in Melbourne.

Some drawings also weave visuals with verbal interjections — sharp observations around gender and sexuality within the larger social context.

“With a strong inclination towards the spontaneously created “hand-made” works, the exhibition accommodates the imaginative, observational and autobiographical,” Vahdera Art Gallery said in a statement.

Rajiv, who narrates not verbally but visually, says the “need for the visual arises from a need to communicate, but this need to communicate remains outside the realm of verbal languages”.

Also Read: US Painted in New Colours By a Refugee Artist

Rajiv was the recipient of the Emerging Artist Award (EAA) 2016, awarded by the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) in collaboration with Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council.

The exhibition is a culmination of the award process including a three-month residency in Switzerland in 2017. (IANS)