Men acting like women, women who desire to be a man, dressing like the opposite sex or getting surgery to change your gender or whatever; gender bending is a form of social activism in response to assumptions or over-generalisations about genders.
Gender benders is self-identified as transgender or genderqueer, feeling that the gender assigned to them at their birth is an inaccurate or incomplete description of themselves; some are transsexual and desire to change their physical sex through hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery, while others were born intersexual. Others may identify as Two-Spirit or members of a third gender.
To my understanding gender bending is practiced all over the world, and has been around for ages. The most common form is drag queens. Men who dress as women are only accepted as a form of entertainment, but as a lifestyle it can be a tough journey in their life. Many cross-dressers find it hard to get respect in their community, but for one (her name is Nong Toom) who is born as a male believed to be a woman. She gained respect from her fellow peers and community by being a champion kickboxer. She was undefeated with something like 22 fights, 18 of them being K.Os. In Thailand the most common sport is ‘kick boxing’ which is traditionally for the toughest and skilled men. But she proved a lot, especially for the over-populated gender benders in Thailand, known as katoe. Story inspired that movie ”Beautiful Boxer”.
It can be very confusing, but all and all its definitely a personal ‘thing’ and no one can really judge you but you.
It can go as far as just dressing differently to talking differently, to having surgery and having certain body parts removed or added. I think it is too painful, too expensive, too much of a burden to even go through with it. Its sad to know that people would go through it all, I wouldn’t have the strength or will power..or money lol.
Fafafine, we all know some and we all love some. I have only met a few fafafine’s in my life and that was in Samoa, no surprise there. To my understanding, fafafine’s are cross dressers, and because they ‘act’ like a woman, the community will treat them like a woman. Technically its not taboo in Samoa because its acknowledged.
They are not considered to be ‘gay’ because they have sex with straight men. Maybe that’s taboo because having that kind of experience or reason to have sex is a bit too much. Maybe it is true that people have sex with fafafine’s because of the experience. This would be considered as a heterosexual relationship, please correct me if I’m wrong. Though gender identity is shaped by our culture.
Being a woman in Samoa is different to being a woman in the western world. Having a third gender person in the family in Samoa is usually a good thing because of the extra help they offer. I like fafafines and I rekon the world could learn a thing or two about how Samoans deal/accept this concept.
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=cb4_1190882014 the vid-doc Transgender in Samoa