Transgendering a trending topic

| August 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

In Thailand, all university students must wear uniforms.

Bangkok University, however, has approved a special uniform for transgender students. Many say the strong Buddhist beliefs that inform many Thai people’s lives are why kathoey (‘ladyboys’) are so visible in society.

Bangkok University said the new uniform ruling was to stop those who, finding the fit awkward, had turned to casual clothes instead.

In rural Kampang, Thailand, the local high school has introduced a third bathroom option. The door features a human figure, half-male and half-female. The principal says the move was taken after research revealed that almost 10% of the school’s 2 500 pupils said they identified as transgender.

In the UK, Cambridge University is also taking the transgender issue seriously. Mark Elliot, dean of St Catherine’s College, responded to a student campaign and in June rewrote the 650-year-old dress code, allowing students to wear what they like, as long as it is “suitably smart”.

The issue of gender reassignment has been the subject of debate in the US since former Olympian Bruce Jenner recently appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine as Caitlin Jenner.

Medical professionals and families alike are arguing over when unhappy teens should be allowed to transition to another gender. Many medical insurers refuse to cover the necessary procedures for those under the age of 18 years.

However, as technology develops, so the number of young people who make the transition and share their stories is growing. So, too, is support for their cause. The Empire State Pride Agenda in New York City is just one advocacy group that maintains that if gender reassignment begins at the onset of puberty, it is easier for a teenage boy to transition to becoming an adult woman, for example, if he does not first become a full-bodied man.

Those opposed to letting teens transition say not enough research has been done. They argue further that teens are notorious for changing their minds.

Category: Spring 2015

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