Cécilia Lépine for Feminist Current writes:
Last year, Pakistan started issuing passports with a third gender category marked by an “X”. In March, the country took things a step further and passed legislation allowing people to change their sex on legal documents, based on self-identification.
While this might indeed seem like a step forward to some, an important detail brings up questions: despite Pakistan’s apparent embrace of trans-identified people, homosexuality remains criminalized in the country. What liberals and progressives who support this kind of legislation have failed to ask themselves is why transgender politics are being embraced by conservative and regressive regimes like those in Pakistan and Iran.
If you compare India’s transgender population to Pakistan’s, you’ll notice an interesting similarity: an overwhelming majority are males.
One Pakistani man named Zara tells The Guardian:
“I was born with a very small male organ. Inside, my feelings are female… I want to live like a woman, cook and do domestic work.”
The implication is that a small penis and a preference for “woman’s work” mean that Zara is not sufficiently masculine, and therefore not male.
Those who claim transgenderism is universal will also bring up Indigenous societies to show that “male” and “female” are simply rigid inventions of Western, colonial culture, offering “third genders” and “two spirit” people as proof of this.
It also is misguided to assume that non-Western, non-white “third genders” necessarily shatter the gender binary.
The fact that those placed in this “third” gender category are usually males raises another red flag. It suggests that, while men can be downgraded to the status of females, women cannot rise up to the status of men.