One thing that the brouhaha over the murder of Jeffrey Laude (allegedly by Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of the United States Marine Corps) revealed is that Filipino transgenders live in legal limbo in the Philippines. No less than the Philippine Supreme Court is reportedly “confused” over how to regard them. The publisher of that report the Inquirer.net, in contrast, refers to Laude as a “she” in the spirit of the Associated Press Stylebook which prescribes the use of the “pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.”As can be noted above, political-correctness demands the use of many words to articulate its principles. But it is often the principles that require the least words that are usually the most likely to be sound. And when it comes to gender, you only need two letters that represent DNA strands to settle the issue — X and Y. The elegant simplicity of the way science defines gender has, of course, not stopped human society from adding a layer of unnecessary complexity on top of it.
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This cultural conceptual layer has grown resonant among “progressives” in recent years to the point that male transgenders have gone as far as demanding that they be included as contestants in female beauty contests. In 2012, they had convinced no less than Donald Trump, owner of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) to consider this proposal. A rule requiring contestants to be “naturally born” human females was originally applied by the MUO. But LGBT activist criticised this as being “an antiquated rule grounded in prejudice, fear and stereotypes”. Some of these activists asserted that the Miss Universe contest is a beauty contest and “not a vagina contest” (transgenders do have a vagina of course, a man-made one perhaps, but a vagina nonetheless).
[NB: Incidentally, this makes for interesting political “debate” when one considers how Philippine Senator Miriam Santiago once insisted that the next president of the Philippines should have a vagina.]
Technically, however, the surgical procedures involved in sex change are cosmetic and highly-intrusive, requiring a lifetime of maintenance. Consider then what transgenders and/or transsexuals have to go through to achieve this feat of anatomical re-engineering.
When changing anatomical sex from male to female, the testicles are removed and the skin of foreskin and penis is usually inverted, as a flap preserving blood and nerve supplies to form a fully sensitive vagina (vaginoplasty). A clitoris fully supplied with nerve endings (innervated) can be formed from part of the glans of the penis. If the patient has been circumcised (removal of the foreskin), or if the surgeon’s technique uses more skin in the formation of the labia minora, the pubic hair follicles are removed from some of the scrotal tissue, which is then incorporated by the surgeon within the vagina. Other scrotal tissue forms the labia majora.
Results may vary. However, in the best cases, when recovery from surgery is complete, it is often very difficult for anyone, including gynecologists, to detect that someone has undergone vaginoplasty. Because the human body treats the new vagina as a wound, however, any current technique of vaginoplasty requires some long-term maintenance of volume (vaginal dilation), by the patient, using medical graduated dilators, dildos, or suitable substitutes, to keep the vagina open. It is very important to note that sexual intercourse is not always an adequate method of performing dilation.
There wouldn’t be much point to the surgical changes performed on sexual organs unless other aspects of the person are modified to resemble the female anatomy — specifically aspects of it that weigh heavily on attracting heterosexual males. Facial feminization surgery (FFS) is a set of reconstructive surgical procedures that alter typically male facial features to bring them closer in shape and size to typical female facial features. FFS can include includes various bony and soft tissue procedures such as brow lift, rhinoplasty, cheek implantation, and lip augmentation. Breast implantations is the enlargement of breasts, which some trans women choose if hormone therapy does not yield satisfactory results. Some individuals may elect to have voice surgery altering the range or pitch of the person’s vocal cords. Tracheal shaves are also sometimes used to reduce the cartilage in the area of the throat to conform to more feminine dimensions, to greatly reduce the appearance of an Adam’s apple. Because male hips and buttocks are generally smaller than those of a female, some MTF individuals will choose to undergo buttock augmentation.
In short, most transgenders males not only want to become a woman, they want to become one that is attractive to heterosexual men.
But what exactly is feminine beauty from the perspective of the average red-blooded straight male? The best way to explore the implications of this question is to understand why the notion of feminine beauty exists to begin with. In other words, why do heterosexual men take certain specific qualities in a woman as bases for determining how “beautiful” she is? Why, for example are men generally attracted to women who sport long thick shiny hair, smooth soft skin, a slender waist, proportionately broad hips, full lips, full breasts, and facial symmetry among others? All of these qualities seem to offer no significant survival advantage in the wild (i.e. a “beautiful” individual is not necessarily more adept at acquiring food or evading predators than an “ugly” individual). So they obviously evolved and survived natural selection because they offered individuals that possessed these features an advantage when it comes to attracting sexual partners (which is a key step to propagating one’s genes).
Many of the “beautiful” qualities highlighted in beauty contests involving females are fitness indicators. Heterosexual human males have evolved a finely-tuned mate selection mechanism that carefully evaluates prospects on the basis of these — and many of these aim to send out one primary message: this specimen is fertile and healthy!! And because youth is a big determinant of female fertility, many of these fitness indicators are reliable gauges of youthfulness. Indeed, it is mainly most of these that tend to degrade most quickly with age — most prominently the luster of hair, the fullness of lips, and the suppleness of skin. So, unsurprisingly, much of the products hawked by the beauty industry centres around these three main features that strongly determine female “beauty” in the eyes of heterosexual men.
In short, beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, but in the survival agenda of our unique individual DNA sequence.
Thus, one cannot deny that beauty pageants are won on the basis of standards set by what human heterosexual males have been programmed by tens of thousands of years of evolution to find “beautiful” in human females. It is for this simple reason that the highlight of the Miss Universe pageant — and most other conventional beauty pageants for that matter — is the swimsuit competition portion of the contest. After all, when else is the executive summary of the mating call (and fertility advertising) of each contestant most evident than when there is not much on to degrade the signals being sent out by the candidates’ fitness indicators?
This reality of the human species has created the multi-billion-dollar beauty and cosmetic surgery industry. Unfortunately it has also created an entire community of individuals who use modern technology to artificially enhance — and even completely alter — their appearance for the purpose of circumventing natural selection.
[NB: Parts of this article were lifted off the Wikipedia.org articles “Sex reassignment surgery (male-to-female)” and “Facial feminization surgery” and used in accordance with that site’s Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License consistent with the same license applied by Get Real Post to its content. Photo courtesy The Guardian UK.]
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.
21 Replies to “The transgender life: It’s not just about becoming a girl, it’s about becoming an ATTRACTIVE chick!”
I’m a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.
You have my sympathy.
I know that feel, bro. *fist bump*
“The elegant simplicity of the way science defines gender has, of course, not stopped human society from adding a layer of unnecessary complexity on top of it.”
Damn straight! The truest intellectuals turn to science in their search for answers, not through philosophies.
In a country with endless problems, the Philippines’ (comparative) tolerance of its LGBT community should be celebrated. I don’t understand why this site always feels the need to beat down on it.
I don’t speak for the site, but I think it’s because they see the LGBT community as a whole right now as being too camp and lewd. It’s quite ironic that LGBT rights advocates march down the streets and call for “equal” rights, and at the same time oversee the things that may hinder their acceptance as “equals” with heterosexuals.
Just look at how gay men are portrayed in media. It’s usually an effeminate, camp, gossipy, sometimes flirty man, and he usually is a sidekick with the female protagonist/antagonist. You rarely see anything more than that. It’s actually counter-productive to the LGBT since it perpetuates the stereotype of gay men. Don’t get me started on gay-themed indie films, most of them are almost pornography. Self-serving fantasies rather than eye-opening realities in my opinion.
Even worse I think, there’s the lack of representation of lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders and anyone who doesn’t conform to male-female dichotomy, both in film and television. Yet I don’t hear them asking for more visibility in the media.
Representations and steamy plots aside, if the LGBT community wants full acceptance, they should be able to show to the society that they are capable of solving the endless problems of the country, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
Every admirable (or smart-alecky) idea or statement you had ever made may actually just be a product of bodily reactions which all root themselves to the commands given to by every DNA in every cell of your body. Still…I believe the truest ideas of all are those closer to scientific processes, more than anything else. The writer is right into assuming that the view of what is beautiful is rooted genetically, not through bogus and self-serving opinions that demand that they be seen as infallible. Another beautiful article you made once again, Mr. benign0.
Thanks Krauss. 🙂
May I note something of a related topic?
I am certainly not homophobic, but it really seems to me, that homosexuality is such a celebrated, or even promoted thing in this (coincidently very Christian) Country..
First Observation was: I have never seen so many (openly) homosexuals anywhere else in the world.. even Thailand seems to have far less.
As a foreigner, it also seems to me that even straight guys, on average, are more feminin than the typical image of a man, which I am accustomed to after being raised in a different culture (in the west).
Second Observation: In the West, most homosexuals are still guys.. While most of them are clearly noticeable, through there behaviour, movements and sometimes soft voices, they are still basically normal guys.. Sometimes you would never guess they where homosexuals!
Here it seems that most homsexuals are immediately turning into wannabe females (either partially, through the way they dress, move, talk, or some silly hair, or all the way through surgery)
Third Observation, which is the main reason for me writing this post:
Homosexuality or dare I say it: Anti-Masculinity seems to be strongly promoted in this country to a level I have not experienced anywhere else in the world. A few examples: When my son was in Kindergarten, the (gay) teacher was putting on make up and lipstick on all the kids, boys and girls, for the Class-Pictures. Not as a Joke or anything like it, but simply “to look pretty”. My son ended up being the only one on that picture without lipstick!
Today he is in first grade and he just came home recently where he and his male-classmates had to play “marry goes to market” dressed as girls, in front of the whole school and many parents.
See, while I do not hate on homosexuality, I am also very proud of my masculinity – I love being a guy – and I teach my son to grow up to be proud of his masculinity as well (I’m not talking about drinking and beating and cheating on the wive, by the way) And it does bother me, if sources of influence, such as school or TV (turn on local TV and you will immediately be greeted by some gay Host or some (secretly) gay politician holding a speech) are trying to homosexualise/femininise/de-masculinitysise (if such words even exist in english) my son..
Maybe two years ago, some 5 year old kid in this town told me, proudly, that he is gay. I am not sure if homosexuality is a genetic thing, or something, someone grows into, But I was really wondering about this kid. Sexuality isn’t something a 5 year old normally is aware of, in my opinion. Was he told by elders that he was gay? Did he want to be gay, because his favourite TV personalities are gay? Did he say he way gay, to receive food, money and other gifts from the gay community in our barangay (which is a very common practice)? Or maybe he just really was gay and realised it in a incredibly early age? I will never know for sure – but will never stop wondering.
If my son turns out to be homosexual someday, then that is ok, but only if it happens through his own will, and not because he was pushed or manipulated “into it”.
And if not, then please let him be a guy! As masculine as he wants to be!
Would be interesting to hear, if any of you have had similar experiences or any opinions about that topic.
To bring this post back to the topic: I am also extremely annoyed if I am walking with my wive and two little children, and some ladyboys start aggressively flirting with me – which happens for example in Greenbelt all the time. Not to say that I would kill any of them for doing such a thing – I would however not be surprised if someone punched their little synthetic faces for doing such things..Yes, I admit, I would even be amused watching such a scenario!
As far back as I can remember, even way back in the 1980s, Greenbelt has always been a favourite hangout for male homosexuals on the hunt for young boys. Their modus operandi was to wait for a guy to use the men’s room then follow him in and take the urinal next to his target then make small talk – or worse, just stare.
Back then there were no screens or dividers in between the urinals. I recall they installed those dividers sometime in the mid 90s, no doubt because of complaints about those activities.
There there. Hugged too much by the wrong people eh? It’s ok to ask for help. Why didn’t you report it to the police? They could have done something to the bad man.
@observant nobody Anything that helps to stop people breeding in this overpopulated country should be encouraged. If those hordes of barrio kids grow up thinking gay is cool, the future will be a lot brighter (and multicolor).
You’re welcome to jump off a bridge if you think the country is overpopulated.
I happen to think the Phils population is a huge source of strength. Poverty is a condition that can be ameliorated over time, but the demographic death sprial of many Western countries is much harder to reverse, and far scarier in the long term.
DO I really have to say this? SEX and GENDER are two different things.
‘SEX’ refers to the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ chromosome designation dictated by biology.’GENDER’ is determined by the societal norms associated with the roles and activities that Men and Women perform within the given society.
R U KIDDING?
A pointless comment: was with my wife at a big event at SMX. There was a “Miss” drag queen winner in a tiny bikini in some booth. I told him ” if you were a woman, you would be hot” Dude looked like a lady.
‘SEX’ and ‘GENDER’ are to different things.
The Re-assignment of Male Sex Organ to Female Sex Organ is a complicated surgery. The Re-assignment of a Female Sex Organ to a Male Sex Organ is also a complicated surgery.
Males want to become Females. Females want to become Males. This not only put our: laws, religions, society upside down. But, confused even the knowledgeable Legal Experts.
Our civlization is going forward, in all direction: Medicine, Science, Technology, Values, etc…I, myself is a little bit confused…
@ observant nobody:
With reference to your second observation, I think that the reason why most gays in the Philippines tend to want to look like girls was caused by the popular mass media way back in the 60’s,70’s & 80’s. During those decades not many gay men would go out of their closets. And not many of them are proud to be one. Let’s say, it was still considered an abnormality. But the act of coming out was slowly pushed in mass media through TV shows and movies. And most of the time, coming-out was portrayed by a gay character suddenly coming out in public in female clothes and fancy make-ups, pretending like a woman. I guess this “iconic” movie characters became an example how a “gay” man can go through the “transition” and how “coming-out” can go about. If you’ve stayed long enough in the Philippines, you would see how local television shows are a part of every household’s daily routine.
Interesting info, thanks!
I also observe that few Filipinos are gay while still looking like a man. It’s more common that if a male is gay, they believe they should dress or look like a woman. In other words, “follow the stereotype.” That for me is one problem about this country’s culture; stereotypes are heavily enforced by “authorities.” That includes mass media.
that’s right. as if there’s this unwritten rule that people should metamorphose into vice ganda or maurice arcache. i have yet to see the anderson cooper or ian mckellen type of gay in this country.