Author Archives: Jessica Sexton

NHS survey

In 2007, web based surveys were commissioned for individuals who were involved with transgender services. In 2006, it became evident that there was considerable unhappiness with some of the services provided by NHS, during a seminar for commissioners. The study was aimed to reach patients and service users all around the UK. Every participating individual filled out a standard survey, and from then there was a subsequent survey was gender specific. It was decided that the survey would become more successful if there was an online survey, as well as a paper form. The survey was open to all trans people, no matter the stage of transition or treatment that they were in. The survey ran for six months. There were almost 200 participants online within the first 24 hrs. Most of the questions were quantative, with the capability to be read and answered qualitatively. A large majority of the respondents already thought of themselves as trans before they thought professional help to aide during the transition and many already had an idea of the type of treatment that desired. Also, many of respondents were unsure, and of those most expressed feelings of confusion, depression, turmoil, and suicidal feelings. The survey studied demographics including: age, ethnic origin, trans men or trans women. The study also focused on geographic region, distance travelled to seek treatment, time from referral to first appointment, initial assessments, and their experience with the GP, experiences of surgery, overall experience, etc. The end result of the surgery did not raise any new concerns, rather confirmed previous accounts. The results will enable improvements and have healthcare providers to work on the problem areas. Thus, the survey proved useful and successful.


Costa article

Costa examines Thailand’s Sao Braphet Song, which in both Thailand and in the West are known as “Kathoey” and “lady boy.” These individuals are born male, and chose to live or simply present themselves as women. “Some cross-dress, take female hormones, and live as women full-time. Others cross-dress only part of the time or dress androgynously. Some present themselves as men yet claim to have the souls of women. Costa studies these individuals, and this reading is greatly engulfed in personal narratives. Sao Braphet Song are looked at in both positive and negative ways, and the term usually results in stereotypes. Positively, Sao Braphet Song are often considered to have great talents as hair and makeup stylists, as well as extensive talents in singing, dancing, and choreography. Negatively, they are often despised for their tendency to draw attention. Western media portray them to be exotic sex workers, symbolic for inappropriate behavior and sexual freedom. However, these stereotypes and stigmas forget to incorporate the voices of these individuals, which is exactly what Costa does in Male Bodies, Female Souls. One individual interviewed, Phi, states  that she has never really felt like a man. She states that this is potentially due to her lack of relationship with her father, and her constant connections with her mother growing up. In grade school Phi felt more comfortable than at home, because she could play with her paper dolls without getting yelled at, like at home. In high school, Phi’s friend base consisted of girls, where she felt comfortable. At university, she had more freedom and met people like her, and felt that she had the ability to be more open than before. This is in part due to the fact that the world was becoming more open-minded. However, when going home, she had to fill a manly role. Upon discussing Thailand in a larger scale, Phi states that “Sometimes I doubt that equal rights in Thailand really exist for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. But those rights don’t include me.” Many of the other individuals interviewed seem to feel the same, that though the world was becoming more open, they still had to be restricted because they wouldn’t be accepted wholly.

I liked the Costa article more than many read because of these personal interviews. Like the films, it is great to hear things from an individual perspective, as opposed to classifying people as a whole.

Politics of Location

Politics of Location


Unlike most of the people in the class, I grew up in this area and haven’t known much else. I went to elementary school on the west side of Bloomington, and went to Jr. High and High School in Ellettsville. Ellettsville is right outside of Bloomington, and it is ridiculously small and rural. There is a lot of farmland and even more backwoods barely traveled roads. Pastimes at my High School consisted of spending time on a 4-wheeler, having bonfires and campouts in the middle of nowhere and cow pastures, and spending time with the same group of friends that an individual has had since elementary. Needless to say, most of the typical small town stereotypes regarding culture are true. MOSTLY. I still live very close to Bloomington, and though day to day culture is zilch, it was just within a 15 minute drive.

A lot of people I have come across over the years think of Bloomington as a cultural hub of a sort. Because of the campus, this is true in many ways. For example, there are few Southern Indiana towns that have PRIDE events, a compilation of exotic cuisines, and small town charm all at once. The campus is beautiful and historic, and an array of individuals comes here for school. A lot of them stay. Thus resulting in a community base that is as different and multi-cultural as 4th street eateries.

The culture is varied here, however, I have never been exposed to a great amount of a trans community.  This is not necessarily due to the fact that it does not to exist, just due to my lack of exposure to that part of the community. When we learn about different locations and the amount of transvariant people within them, it seems like the proportion in the community is great. However, the depictions we see in class are close studies of these cultures, and might be a misrepresentation of the population comparison. Perhaps, my lack of exposure is due to my personal involvement(or lack there of) with campus and community events, but part of it could be due to the small amount of trans community.

The basic point that I am trying to get to is that involvement in a culture and amount of culture are in direct relation to each other. If a film crew is devoted to a particular subject matter, it might give a varied sense of what the community and culture as a whole. That is how Bloomington is. If you are directly involved with a  subject, you’re exposure to that subject is high-but not necessarily a view of the entire location as a whole.


During the last class, Aren asked us what we have learned this semester. I think it is less of a question of what I have learned or unlearned, but a question of exposure. I was unaware of certain cultural traditions, figures, and societies reaction to them until this class. For example, two-spirit people was simply a term I had heard before, and didn’t have any relevance. I didn’t realize the vast number of trans immigrants, nor their often end profession. All I had was terminology, without being able to directly reference particular cultural aspects that play into them.

One of the best things about this class were the films that we watched. There were many that I had never even heard of, and it was great because viewers became personally involved and passionate about the films. There was a great amount of incorporation of films into the class, and there was a film to watch during each segment. Sometimes they were directly related to the readings, sometimes they were just of a similar subject matter. Either way, it is good to visualize a different culture and lifestyle, as opposed to just reading about it.



highschool student denied crown

this is another link that is similar to a previous one that I made about a Highschool Student that was denied a homecoming crown. Thought it was interesting.

Two Spirit People, film

The film two-spirit people consisted of many interviews with Native Americans and people who are focused on the anthropology of Native American peoples. This film focused on the Berdache. Two-Spirit is often the umbrella term used for many Native Americans that operate outside of typical gender norms. It was mentioned in the film that there genuinely is not translatable term for Two-Spirited people. There are tons of variations that try, and they vary throughout different tribes. When Native Americans were forced to begin speaking English, they were also forced to put a word to it. Different tribes created different terms, and with that there are tons of words that all mean different things, but still refer to the Berdache. It would be very general if I was to state that Two-Spirit peoples do not receive any criticism at all, but the film portrayed them to be very accepted, if not praised highly. Two-Spirit peoples can transcend both the physical and spiritual world into something higher. They have the ability to gain understanding in different forms of light. Both male and female, physical and spiritual. One specific person that was mentioned in the video, was We’Wha. This is one of the first individuals that was highly publicized as being Two-Spirit. Upon their burial, they were buried in traditional female garb, but with pants. We’Wha was also buried in the male side of the cemetery, showing that the community was accepting and cared greatly for We’Wha. Berdache, or Two-Spirit People, are often highly praised and adored, performing rituals for weddings and births. Their praise unto others is highly sought after.Partners of Berdache are not considered homosexual. Berdache can have both female and male partners, without any judgment on those partners. However, if two Berdache engage in intercourse, it is considered unnatural.

The film also focused greatly on homosexuals in Native American culture. There were a few different individuals interviewed in the film. It was stated that in larger terms, many homosexuals are accepted by their families. But as in every culture, there are stigmas and ties that are broken among the families with an individual comes out. Individuals are banished as often as they are accepted. There were a couple different people that were interviewed on the film. One was a proud member of a gay rights group for Native Americans.

Though the film was short, it was very educational to a culture that I didn’t entirely understand. I liked the personal interviews, but there are still gaps in the culture that would have made the film better if it went more in depth.

Michigan transgendered teen denied homecoming crown

This is a story that was published today about a teenager in Michigan. Oakleigh Reed (which is an awesome name, on a personal note) is a 17-year old female to male transgender student. He has began to dress in accordance with his change, wearing looser jeans and polos to school.  According to Reed, the school was very accommodating with his choices since, he is planning on wearing a men’s cap and gown during graduation, and they let him wear a men’s band uniform. However, when Reed decided to run for homecoming king, the principal withdrew his ballot.

Reed stated that he came up with the idea to run on a whim, and promoted it on facebook. It became clear quickly that he was in the lead. When the principal got wind of that, she took his name off of the ballot. Because Reed was enrolled in the school system as a female, it disqualified him from the competition.

Reeds mother was outraged. Oakleigh should have crowned king, because that is what the votes tallied. As of now, the school board has not changed their mind about the subject. Superintendent Todd Geerlings said that “ the issue was simple and that a boy had to be king and a girl had to be queen.” However, a large amount of students are trying to get Oakleigh to push the issue, and have even started a facebook fanpage promoting it.