Tuesday, March 25, 2008

born in the wrong body

My mom had a chance to meet some of our distant relatives from Norway this past weekend, who were visiting the States. Three people came over- an old man who was her father's (my grandfather's) first cousin...their mothers were sisters. He brought his daughter and his granddaughter with him. He understood English quite well, but couldn't speak much, but his daughter and especially his granddaughter were apparently quite fluent.

Everyone was poring over family photographs, and trading family histories, and at some point my mom decided to explain the discrepancies, saying something simple but clear like "As you can see, I had two little girls when they were younger, but now I have a boy and a girl, they both live in New York," etc, while pointing to recent pictures.

Apparently, there was some momentary puzzlement, followed by a brief moment of eye widening and then nodding; the youngest said quietly and matter-of-factly, "Ah, born into the wrong body."

Ha! Just like that, barely the batting of an eyelash, but as soon as everyone understood what she meant, it was just completely accepted and then everyone moved one. Wouldn't it be nice if that were the universal reaction here, as well?

I guess the Scandanavians are pretty darn progressive when it comes to trans issues. I did a scosh of research just now and found this website that's apparently the national trans organization- it's all in Norwegian, but down at the bottom on the right there's a link that says English that translates some of the page.

It turns out that WPATH, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (formerly known as HBIGDA, the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association) is having it's biennial symposium in Oslo next year! Read a little on that website, and you'll find out that the Mayor of Oslo (which I will risk reminding y'all is the capitol and largest city of Norway, in case my agoggedness doesn't seem warrented) is going to personally address the conference and offer welcoming remarks.

Somehow I doubt that the Mayor of Chicago personally addressed WPATH last summer when the conference was being held there.


It's like "Way Loooowwww..." said...

Yay for progressive politicians! In case you haven't heard about him, the mayor of Taipei and soon-to-be-president of Taiwan raised a rainbow flag over the city for last year's gay pride parade (although I haven't heard him talk about trans issues specifically), and said, "We want Taipei to be a multifaceted city filled with love, peace and tolerance." I also heard that New Zealand has a transgender member of Parliament. Will have to research that further...
It really makes the United States look backwards, doesn't it?

Eli said...

You're right! Georgina Beyer is her name- check out http://www.georginabeyer.com/.

Gives me hope that my aspirations to become a city councilman or county commisioner will someday be realized!