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Gender Bender April 30, 2008

Posted by nitinkarani in English, Gay & Lesbian, Sexuality & Gender, Transexual, Transgender.


The latest Bips starrer Pankh is a movie based on gender confusion experienced by a male child artist who grows up playing female roles. While director Sudipto Chattopadhyay addresses a complicated phenomenon through this portrayal, such occurrences are not rare


Madonna’s scandalous on-stage lip-lock with Britney and Angelina Jolie’s girlfriend tales may’ve been a subject of shock and amusement, but gender confusion is a subject well beyond alternate sexual inclinations. While a lot of people tend to misunderstand the two phenomena, we clear the picture for you.  

Confusion kya hai?

Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is a condition in which a person has been assigned one gender, usually on the basis of their sex at birth, but does not conform with the gender role their society prescribes to them. He/she feels significant discomfort in coping with this.

Dealing with it

“One should consult a fully committed psychiatrist. It takes one to five sittings to determine the exact nature of the condition and it is then that hormonal manipulation and treatment begins,” says Dr S V Kotwal, GID specialist at Sitaram Bhartiya Institute.

Natural phenomenon

“In most cases, this is an inbuilt aberration since birth. Though a lot of genetic research has been conducted on the subject, it has only been found that the brain of certain individuals is designed that way,” explains Dr Kotwal. “Whatever the cause, it is absolutely natural and normal for these confusions to arise. A person undergoing anything like this should not press the panic button.

He should instead consult a counsellor in whom he will find comfort,” advises Betu, founder member of Sanginii, a Delhi-based NGO that creates and disseminates information on issues of sexuality and sexual rights.

Better understanding

“There is rising awareness of the existence of new sexual identities amidst us. Sex education in schools is the most important method by which we can change attitudes. I suggest courses such as ‘sex, sexuality and gender’, which Humsafar Trust conducts at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

These help clarify issues and open young minds to differences in sex, sexuality and gender, and the related conflicts that arise in a socio-economic setting,” says Dr Ashok Row Kavi, India’s first gay activist and UNAIDS worker.

Use these helplines:
Sanginii: 65676450
Naz Foundation: 26910499

Don’t mix them up!
» Crossdressers or Transvestites are         okay with their birth gender, but choose to dress up  and behave like the opposite gender
» Drag performers or Drag queens are individuals who dress up as and use the mannerisms of the opposite sex for the purpose of entertaining
» Transsexuals are born into one gender but identify emotionally and psychologically with the other
» Intersexed is someone who was born with ambiguous genitalia, so doctors assigned him/her a specific gender at birth. But as this person grows older, he/she might not necessarily identify with the pre-assigned gender and may want to switch
» Homosexuals or gays and lesbians are people who have a sexual preference for the same sex. They are happy with their gender



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