Tag Archives: transsexuality

Meet Tamara Adrián

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Lawyer and professor of commercial law at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB) and at Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV), in 2004 Adrián was the first Venezuelan citizen appealing to the Constitutional Assembly for the recognition of her identity. In spite of having a gender reassignment surgery in 2002 in Thailand she still legally has a male’s name, the name she was born with. Until today she has not received any answer on her petition yet. On 18 October 2010 Adrián postulated as judge of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice with the side objective of also “claiming transsexuals’ rights and testing the tolerance of a country with homophobic institutions”. The resolution on her postulation (she has already passed the first selection phase) will probably be public by the end of the year. She is a lesbian, a feminist, a member of the Latin American and Caribbean Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-LAC board) and the founder of the DIVERLEX association (Difference and Equality through the Law) working for the implementation of legal measures protecting sex and gender related human rights.

From a legal point of view what is the situation of transsexuals and transgender in Venezuela?

We simply don’t exist. There exist no public politics for the recognition of one’s identity, nor for medical treatment or protection against discrimination in all fields: labour, studies, etc.

You underwent sex-reassignment surgery in 2002 but your ID still says you have a male’s name. What does this mean in your daily life?

For some day-to-day activities, like the gym or the grocery store, I use a fake ID, always letting civil servants know it is and that they can denounce me if they want to, which until now no one has. Anyway, my transsexuality is not visible so also when using my real ID people generally think that there is some mistake behind the name they see. At the same time I am a well known person in my country and that makes everything easier. But for the majority of the transsexuals in Venezuela daily life is not easy at all, that is why I am carrying out this struggle, for civil responsibility and for the respect of human rights, so other people in the future can achieve their constitutional right to the ‘self-determination’ more easily.

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Meet Raewyn Connell

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Raewyn Connell (1944), born Robert William Connell, is the most influential Australian sociologist. Her research fields go from large-scale class dynamics, poverty and education, sociology of knowledge, sexuality and AIDS prevention to social change and gender relations. Her book “Masculinities” (1995) was one of the founders of this research field. She is currently university professor at the University of Sydney.

In the ILGA Trans Secretariat’s web page it’s written that it’s a paradox that the most important intellectual of masculinity is now a woman. First of all do you feel you are a woman?

No, I don’t feel I’m a woman.  I know it.  I don’t think that’s very different from the kind of knowledge other women have (and men too, about being men).  For transsexual women, of course, the knowledge has definite complexities; yet there are gender complexities at some level in almost everyone’s life.

Do you feel you are a man?

For large parts of my life I tried to live as a man, but always with the underlying contradiction. That is the situation many transsexual women find themselves in. There is no simple resolution of that contradiction, and no outcome without serious costs – including costs to other people in our lives.  It’s not a glamorous situation and should not be romanticised.

Do you think it is necessary to belong either to one gender or the other?

No, it is not necessary for everyone to be subjectively either a man or a woman.  There are some people who try consistently to live without gender commitments.  For instance, they live in de-gendered households, have emotional or sexual relations not determined by gender, present themselves with a mixture of gender symbolism, and demand that the state not classify them in gender terms.  This is a brave project and these people have my admiration.  But their project is incredibly difficult, because gender is a massive social reality, embedded in institutions as well as personal life.   For the great majority of people, having a definite place in the gender order is a routine condition of life, a ground of everyday action.

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