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Despite Assigned Gender, You Have the Right to Choose Your Identity.

For the right to be who everyone is. For the right to all the rights

‘Who are you?’ asked the worm to Alice in Wonderland.

This is not an easy question. People can spend their whole life trying to find the answer, identity is something which is a human's right to define, that allow us to get closer to an answer of who we are. Identity: a beautiful word and an essential right that includes a set of attributes to make our pass through life and our interaction with others easier.

We have the right to be named, respected and loved for who we want to be and not how the rest think we should be. When your sex matches with the person you see yourself as, this is not so difficult. However, when you're a transgender, your story is different, not only because you're challenged to find yourself despite the image in the mirror, but also because, if you're brave enough to live publicly beyond the prison of your own body, you will be, for sure, prisoner of prejudice about your identity. This is not fair or right.

As a citizen who is part of the National Union for the approval for a Gender Identity Law, I am convinced that in a so called democratic society, identity needs be a wide and easy right for every single citizen- especially for those who choose to define themselves beyond their sex. Transgender people today have awful life conditions: they live isolated, stigmatized and without chances for studiying; it's impossible for them to obtain a formal employment; they are always being questioning for everyone because who their ID says they are, is not who they live as.

The projected law seeks to end the stigmatization of transgender people; they are not crazy, subnormal, pedophiles, prostitutes, drugs addicts or AIDS carrier just because of their situation, as many people assume. The law also states they have the right to a legal identity- on their ID for example- that agrees with their chosen gender regardless if it matches with the biological sex. Under the law, they will have the right to be called by the pronoun that agrees with the identity they have given to themselves, no matter if they have received a previous surgery to change their sex.

Authorities from the Catholic Church, the official religion of Argentina, have argued that the project of law violates the natural order of society and each person has the obligation to live according to the sex they were born. I say, there is no risk in recognizing that transgender people should have the same right non-transgender people have: to be in this world as who we are. The natural thing is to be yourself; the natural order is equity, not discrimination, and the freedom to decide for oneself. Through this law, they will have their dignity back and equal access to the same opportunities citizens have in this country. No more, but never less.

I think the answer about who we are belongs only to each one of us. The law must give a legal frame to a basic right in a society; this society where we, the people, are equal and free to choose the culture, religion, marital status and racial identity we want. Freedom of expression and choice are the foundations upon which our society is built; why leave gender out of the enjoyment of equity?

“Where there is a need, there is a right” said Eva Peron, and this statement also pertains to human rights. We can overcome ignorance and prejudice. I am a conscious citizen with the right to stand up for myself and say I’m Hispanic, Muslim, Feminist, Chilean, Immigrant, Mother…and Woman. And I declare the choice was mine completely. I built the human I am from my freedom to change and my right to choose; why deny others that right just because they are transgender? Gender aside, you decide who you are.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

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Abigail Fern's picture

Well Done~

Hi Nasreenamina,

Excellent topic and strong article! Your last sentence is especially powerful: "Gender aside, you decide who you are." Yes we do!!

Great work!

Love,
Abby

nasreenamina's picture

Thanks Abby.. I wonder where

Thanks Abby.. I wonder where my inspiration to keep on and accomplish this assignment came from? From you! I am specially thankful this time to you and all WP team who make things possible.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Celine's picture

Powerful Article

Dear friend,
You rightly put it - the natural order is equity, not discrimination, and the freedom to decide for oneself, but in some countries, government use the natural things to subject people to where the government wants them to be. In my country, for instance, the government recently passed a law prohibiting activities of LGBT, saying they are neither recognized in Islam, Christianity nor traditional contexts. The LGBT issue is very complex in some developing countries, as the countries refuse to take human rights approach.

Love,
Celine

nasreenamina's picture

Gender equity struggle is not

Gender equity struggle is not only about women. Is about choices. What have allowed the struggle for women rights and the recognition of social equity and equal access to opportunities for women, is the reflection about gender and roles. So, if we talk about women rights, about gender inclusion, is not possible to limitate this claim just for those who have decided to live with gender asignation agree with sex: The right and the opportunities to inclusion must be for everyone who decide living agree with a Gender. We know gender - and the burden of roles- are cultural products.

Especifically about Islam, we have also the same discussion: Are LGBT allowed or forbidden? Can a human being, as God creature, be forbidden to establish a relation with God? Who have the power to "select" which humans are or not "suitable" to have a spiritual experience -further than religion, we all have a soul-?

From the group of Islamic Feminism we have put this topic in discussion groups and some of our sisters and brothers have written articles about. Some of these articles have been censored under the argument "some people can feel disturbed". Is sad because is a dicussion we need and we need to carry it in the widest and most honest way. There is also some groups of organized LGBT muslims and also we have some authorities- for example. Mushin Hendricks who is a very well known scholar who is gay and work for the inclusion of LGBT in their communities in South africa. Also Irshad Manji is another muslim leader who is leading a movement from the progressive side of islam in behalf of this subject.

There is a documentary "Jihad of Love" , in youtube, where you can know more about our position as progressives muslim around this subject and the Quranic and scholar basis we offer to explain it. Warms Regards

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMuiul5lWE4

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

malba66's picture

A great piece! And I am so

A great piece! And I am so happy that this piece may touch a Latin American newspaper or media outlet somewhere! Be well, Mari

nasreenamina's picture

Thank you very much. I hope

Thank you very much. I hope so maybe I can put a spanish version in some place, who knows?
I know not many people are familiar with the matter, and also is not easy to create empathy in the audience on the subject, as it is considered a matter of "outsiders". However, I have the conviction that part of my work as a citizen journalist is to provide a broad and comprehensive as possible vision about the subject matter of my work: Gender Equity.

If I just always write about the "anchor items" I would quickly conquer my audience, but I would become the woman who always speaks the same, the women who do not leave her "comfort zone" to deliver new stories. I look for special effectiveness, not special effects.

Communication has the power to open doors and I think we have to be bold enough to use that power. As I always say: to write about the "agenda setting" of "mainstream" there are enough people already. We have to be salmon in the river, the voice that is not heard, the story that no one reads: With our skills we have to make that information and communication flowing change in behalf of those unheard and unknown voices and stories.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

usha kc's picture

Nasreen, loved your post

Nasreen, loved your post dear. By the way,you have forgetten to copy paste the paragaraph.

Great one!

nasreenamina's picture

Thank you Usha. I've already

Thank you Usha. I've already paste the paragraph, thanks again.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

patf's picture

Thank you, Nasreen

Hello Nasreen,
Thank you for your article. It is an important aspect of diversity and how someone identifies him/herself. You are courageous to put your voice out there for many who feel they must hide.
I hope you do find a Spanish outlet to get this published.
Blessings,
Pat Finnegan

nasreenamina's picture

Thank you Pat for your words.

Thank you Pat for your words. I am really glad with my Op-ed and I am happy to bring new issues to the table. I think open new subjects to talk about is a duty and a pleasure. Warms regards

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Okeny-Lucia's picture

People need to be told!

I hear you well enough.It is a voice of the vulnerable.

The societies the world over are yet to realize a need for gender identity.

Thank you for higlighting this conscientous issue with our conservative society.

Lucia Buyanza
Reproductive Health

nasreenamina's picture

My sister! thank you very

My sister! thank you very much for your words; one of the aims about gender struggle is inclusion of all people in the society with a human right sight. Warms Regards

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

clarices's picture

Justice for all

Nasreen,

Thanks for your sensitive piece on transgender equality. Powerful and thoughtfully done!

Warm Regards,
Clarice

nasreenamina's picture

Thank you Clarice! I am very

Thank you Clarice! I am very glad you like my article. Things that make me feel glad about my OP are: First, the same will be published and second, I am convinced more and more that as citizen journalist we must to be bold about what topic we choose to write about: Part of our work is paying attention to the environment to be ready to go out our comfort zone and put new issues and new vision on the table. I am happy to read, for example, another correspondant, is thinking about to write on this subject in her country. That's wonderful! because in all the world, all people deserve dignity and inclusion; gender aside, equity is a duty.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Kate Rivera's picture

Dear Nasreen, Thank you for

Dear Nasreen,

Thank you for bringing such an important story to our community and to the world. Your personal connection and commitment to the rights of transgender ( and all ) persons shines through the whole article.

You state a problem and the consequences for people affected by this injustice, and then you propose a significant step toward a needed and larger solution; the proposed Gender Identity Law. The story you tell here is very painful but you also bring hope and courage. Congratulations; this is a personal and also a universal story and you have told it beautifully.

It's especially interesting to read this story just now because here in America, there is a major film award this weekend, ( The Academy Awards) and one of the films nominated is "Albert Nobbs" a film by the American actress, Glenn Close, which is the story of two women passing as men in Ireland over a hundred years ago. Both actresses are nominated for awards and the interest in this film has brought increased media coverage and wider awareness of transgender rights and activism. Your story is an important part of this narrative. I would like to send this to friends of mine involved in the transgender and LGBT community. Do I have your permission?

And, do you know of Pink Life? (Pembe Hayat) It's a transgender rights organization founded in 2006 in Turkey, which is supported by the "Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights" Pink Life is very active in this struggle. ..www.pembehayat.org .

Thank you again, Nasreen, for such an important and well written article.

Blessings,

Kate

Kate Rivera

"Tell me then, what will you do with your one wild, sweet, and precious life?"
Mary Oliver, American Poet

nasreenamina's picture

Of Course!!! yes, yes, yes,

Of Course!!! yes, yes, yes, you can share with your friends and every one, I will be happy, and thank you for spreading the message. I am very glad you like my article and is touching for me to see there's a power in words that can make us join around causes.

I know about the movie with Glenn Glose but I have to wait thex winter in this hemisphere to watch it. Anyway,I remember a movie I watched when I was a little girl, around 9 or 10 maybe, and impacted me a lot: Yentl, with Barbra Streisand, when she had to dress and act like a man to study. Even when this movie didn't touch exactly the topic about transgender itself, it was interesting since state a reflection about gender and how gender can become a prison for some human beings, instead of being what gender should be: a element of the free building of ourselves.

Thank you Kate, your comment is very encouraging and keep on track highly energized. Warms Regards

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Greengirl's picture

Dear Nasreen

I every much agree with you that the rights of transgenders should be respected. They deserve equal treatment as non-transgender people. You are highly regarded for caring enough to speak for all those affected and who have continued to battle the problems of stigmatization and discrimination.

Nice Piece of Writing.

Olanike

nasreenamina's picture

Thank you my dear! I am very

Thank you my dear! I am very happy you like the article and got my point. When we see the human life from the sight of Human Rights, everything turn easier in order of accepting each other as we are

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

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