Life is an interesting thing, with many twists, turns and other obstacles that make the road of existence just that more interesting. It is these twists, and obstacles that shape the kind of individual we grow up to be. How we react to different situations, how we cope with different personalities and how we live our lives to the very fullest.
There are many things that an individual learns through the course of his/her life, whether it is information from family members or a teacher. Most of these life lessons have included subjects such as the difference between male and female, the differences between cultures, and why certain people act the way they do. Unfortunately, of all the subjects that are covered in schoolroom settings, there is one area -out of many- that has yet to be covered. It's that one 'gray' area of gender. When a person is neither a complete male nor a complete female, but rather in-between the two categories that western society has laid before the community members.
These individuals are sometimes referred to as transsexuals; they posses the genitals of a male and a female. Certain tribes such as; Berdache, Nadle, Alyha, Hijras and the Eskimos, all have separate categories for different genders, and within these gender differences there is no inequality, every category is treated with respect. Once this information was played before me, my mind went completely blank in shock. I had always known of hermaphrodites but I had never been taught about the struggles they have to endure through the course of their lives.
A big surprise that shocked me was the fact that many cultures other than western society, have accepted the fact that there is more than two categories of genders, some even go as far to say that there are nine categories. This was so interesting because Western society is constantly critiquing other cultures and their beliefs, and they are always attempting to westernize other cultures. Meanwhile the Western society lives in a bleak circle where there are things that they tend to ignore because they are not considered the norm. We as a society should take lessons from Eskimo tribes on how to accept the fact that there are more than two genders.
It deeply saddened me in a way to realize that I am 19 years old and it is only now that I am learning about a 3rd unrecognized gender that is so foreign, not only to me but to the whole community. I'm glad that I am given this opportunity to study something I knew very little about. I was given the chance to see how hard their lives are, constantly having to explain to their friends and eventually their children what makes them so different compared to every other parent.
It is disappointing to realize that the society that I have grown up in, is ashamed of transsexuals, ignoring the fact that there is such a thing because it is not the so called 'norm.' Children are growing up in today's society unbeknownst to the fact that there is something different than just male and female. It is not until they witness first hand among a peer or family member, that this third category exists. Their judgments are harsh and cruel because of misunderstanding of transsexuals. I am humiliated to admit that I too was one of those people who used to snicker when the topic came up, unbelieving to the fact that a person like that could exist. It just wasn't possible, until I saw a television show on the subject last year. Even then I still snickered as the program run, uninterested as to what the show was about. But now that I have seen this more direct and understandable movie in class, it has broadened my horizon. Made me realize that this subject is not as educated as it should be, that there should be more time and effort taken in the school systems to discuss this area of gender. It is something that I personally will never laugh nor snicker about again because it is a serious subject where people are being ostracized because of their differences, because modern society just doesn't understand what is occurring.