There is growing discontent within the Gay & Lesbian communities regarding the issues of Transgender and Transsexuality. Historically (and presently in some parts of the world), forced SRS was a method used to eradicate homosexuality.
South Africa and the erasure of Homosexuality and Lesbianism
The Aversion Project
1970s and 1980s
South Africa’s apartheid army forced white lesbian and gay soldiers to undergo ‘sex-change’ operations in the 1970′s and the 1980′s, and submitted many to chemical castration, electric shock, and other unethical medical experiments. Although the exact number is not known, former apartheid army surgeons estimate that as many as 900 forced ‘sexual reassignment’ operations may have been performed between 1971 and 1989 at military hospitals, as part of a top-secret program to root out homosexuality from the service.
Army psychiatrists aided by chaplains aggressively ferreted out suspected homosexuals from the armed forces, sending them discretely to military psychiatric units, chiefly ward 22 of 1 Military Hospital at Voortrekkerhoogte, near Pretoria. Those who could not be ‘cured’ with drugs, aversion shock therapy, hormone treatment, and other radical ‘psychiatric’ means were chemically castrated or given sex-change operations.
Although several cases of lesbian soldiers abused have been documented so far—including one botched sex-change operation—most of the victims appear to have been young, 16 to 24-year-old white males drafted into the apartheid army.
Iran and the erasure of Homosexuality and Lesbianism
In Iran, homosexuality is considered to be a sin, whereas transsexuality is considered to be treating an illness.
When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s combative president, provoked his latest controversy in New York this week by asserting that there were no homosexuals in his country, he may have been indulging in sophistry or just plain wishful thinking.
While Mr Ahmadinejad may want to believe that his Islamic society is exclusively non-gay, it is a belief undermined by the paradox that transsexuality and sex changes are tolerated and encouraged under Iran’s theocratic system.
Iran has between 15,000 and 20,000 transsexuals, according to official statistics, although unofficial estimates put the figure at up to 150,000. Iran carries out more gender change operations than any country in the world besides Thailand.
Critics have suggested that some of those changing sex are not true transsexuals but gays or lesbians who feel forced into the operation by social pressure.
There is more than just ‘social pressure’. The ‘offence’ of homosexuality is enforced by Iranian law – lashes for the first three offences, and on the fourth offence, death:
The government reportedly executed the two men for the crime of “lavat.” Iran’s shari`a-based penal code defines lavat as penetrative and non-penetrative sexual acts between men. Iranian law punishes all penetrative sexual acts between adult men with the death penalty. Non-penetrative sexual acts between men are punished with lashes until the fourth offense, when they are punished with death. Sexual acts between women, which are defined differently, are punished with lashes until the fourth offense, when they are also punished with death.
Therefore, acceptance and high numbers of transsexuals is not a sign of tolerance or progressiveness, but frequently the intolerance of homosexuality and lesbianism.
Casestudy of Lesbianism Erasure – Chaz Bono
Chaz (born Chastity) Bono is probably the most famous female-to-male (FTM) Transgender person. Chaz was for many years, active in the Lesbian & Gay community, and a well-known lesbian. Until recently, Chaz had a 12-year lesbian relationship with Jennifer Elia. When Chaz decided to transition, in their own words they were no longer a lesbian couple, but now a heterosexual one. This is erasure of visible lesbianism.
The couple has been in therapy and are dealing with the many changes Chaz’s transition brings to the relationship, from having a deeper voice and more aggression thanks to the testosterone, to Jenny’s self-identification as a woman moving from a homosexual relationship to a heterosexual one. It wasn’t easy. “We really love each other and had a strong connection and we really did the work,” Chaz said. “We did the work we needed to do.”
Elia – who [is] writing a book – supported the 42-year-old during his gender reassignment process and later said she found her partner ‘more attractive’ as a man.
She said that their intimate relationship as ‘straight couple’ improved ‘for the good.’
Late-transitioner Chaz is however, unusual compared to the majority of FTMs – most of whom are in their late teens or early twenties. Almost all FTMs are lesbians.
MTFs (male-to-females) fall basically into two categories with sexual orientation and age. Most of the young MTF transitioners are gay males, whereas the majority of MTF late-transitioners (particularly over the age of 40) are heterosexual males.