Transgender and henna, the precepts

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Posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on August 21, 2002 at 16:00:28:

In reply to: Transgender and henna, the short answer posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on August 21, 2002 at 15:59:33:

Starting here with a few proposals:

People, in other places and times, are as complex and variable as we
are. The ?distancing? effect of place and time often leads us to
believe that others are somehow stereotypes; exotic, different, noble,
primitive, mad, genius ? so hold that in mind. People are just
people, but when we observe them from a distance we loose that crucial
detail that makes a distant community seem to fall into simple
categories. They don?t. People are poorly served by generalities and
stereotypes, though to write papers, and to read papers, generalities
will be made. Don?t make too much of the generalities in this
discussion, use them only when they serve to help some understanding,
and discard them when they fall short.

People are born with genitals. These don?t come in strictly male and
female. Male and female is a continuum, and many people are born in
between. In a society that has polarized male and female roles, and a
sense that ?the divine order? is a set of perfect opposites, many
people will find they fit in poorly.

Society defines gender roles, and people perform gender roles. A
person may perform a gender that is the same, or different from, their
trouser furniture. Some societies have rigidly defined gender roles.
People who behave outside of those roles may be tolerated if they
serve some socially useful function and are not disruptive, but these
people are usually marginalized and may be vulnerable to attack when
things go badly.

People like a bit of cuddling and affection. Post-puberty people are
fond of orgasms, and are apt to be cross when means are unavailable.
Islam recognizes that men and women both need physical sexual release,
and that lack of such is unhealthy. Islam also recognizes that
promiscuous sexual activity can be socially disruptive through
disease, jealousy, abandonment, and fatherless children. To curb
social disruption and protect people?s health, Islam encouraged sexual
segregation and obligatory marriage. Women live in the women?s
quarters, men live in the men?s world, everybody had a sexual partner,
guaranteed parenting, and no distractions. It seemed like a perfect

However ? People don?t fit into perfect solutions very neatly.

One more note: I?m going to deal in some generalities here, because if
I were to say ?there are homosexuals in this country, that country,
this city or that city? such would likely infuriate those who which to
deny such on religious grounds. Therefore ? I?ll just let it stay
general, to preserve people?s illusions that ?such things never happen
in MY family!?


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