Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Transphobic Abuse in Nepal [BBC]

From the BBC:

Nepal transsexual 'abuse' concern  

A leading human rights group has written to Nepal's government voicing concern over what it calls continuing police abuse of transsexuals.
Human Rights Watch says there has been a pattern of arbitrary arrests and violence against "Metis", who identify themselves as women.

The organisation has called for a full investigations of such abuse and appropriate punishments.

Police in Nepal say they are taking the allegations very seriously.

However, the head of a human rights cell in the police said many of the Metis were working as prostitutes and that as this was illegal in Nepal, raids on hotels were "permissible".

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu says Metis are a common sight in the city's streets late at night.

Job skills

Human Rights Watch said that in the past few weeks, Metis had been detained without warrants, badly beaten, burned with cigarettes, forced to strip and even had guns pointed at them.

Similar allegations - sometimes with photographic evidence - are regularly made by the Blue Diamond Society, a charity working among Nepal's transsexuals.

The officer said the police were in dialogue with Blue Diamond on how to train the Metis in other job skills.

Blue Diamond is the subject of a lawsuit by a conservative lawyer who wants it closed down.

However, the government has said there are no legal grounds for doing so.

Now i have two questions:

  • why did the BBC headline its article Nepal transsexual 'abuse' concern - why was abuse in quotation marks? Is it because the BBC is an ‘objective’ bourgeois news source?

  • There is a Maoist insurgency poised to take power in Nepal – how is this likely to impact Kathmandu’s transsexuals?

Categories: , , ,


  1. Transsexuals are basically the bottom of the barrel in terms of human rights -- take a given situation as per rights in a country , and frequently trannies are among the most abused, if not *THE* most abused. Extra points if you're poor, of color, homeless, a sex worker, etc.

    As to the referring to the abusive behavior from the cops as 'abuse', well...maybe it hits too close to home? I'm not up on what the cops relationship is like with trannies in the UK, but I have a sinking feeling it's not good.

  2. I don't know that the communists in Nepal have a position on transexuality. But if I was a trannie peasant, I'd still be glad for land reform.

    The Red Flags blog I moderate has regular updates about the situation in Nepal, which is very dynamic. As of now, the ceasefire is off and the rebels are launching nation-wide attacks, even into the Katmandu valley.


  3. >I don't know that the communists in Nepal have a position on transexuality. But if I was a trannie peasant, I'd still be glad for land reform.<

    Hmn. While I'm glad to hear more about what's happening about the situation in Nepal, I think the point of the article is that the situation for trannies in Nepal is not exactly stellar, regardless of the political situation there.

  4. Typical of a liberal group, these people petition the "powers that be" -- here, a brutal feudalist dictatorship well on its way to being given the boot -- instead of doing the proper, intelligent, politically-smart thing to do: support the Revolution.

    And this is why liberals are not only wrong about so many things politically, but also one example of why they pose a threat to the working-class movement -- of any gender -- if they are not opposed with a clear counter-movment which does not collaborate or compromise with the class enemy.

    But of course, that's being unreasonable in their POV...

    Let's not let liberals set our agendas, OK?

  5. Oh, I'm under no illusions about the liberal human rights groups doing much, except on occasion saving a few of our sister's lives. Which is something, but it's also what they typically use to justify their backward thinking, as you know. Fuck liberals, who cares about them.

    However, I do expect revolutionaries to be supportive of trans rights, and if they're as fucked up as the capitalists in this regard (but not in others,) well, they're wrong and should be called on it internationally. Three guesses though as to who I think is more likely to be fucked up to marginalized peoples in a given situation, including trannies, indigenous people, landless peasants, et. al. I just believe in having my eyes open about the social realities of marginalized peoples, including we trans folks.

  6. Reading the article, it is clear that what Human Rights Watch is referring to is police abuse. While i agree with Commandante Gringo that appealing to the powers that be is a dead-end, we all know that it is what most folks - up to and including revolutionaries - do when faced with State abuse. When the Red Army Faction insisted that the Geneva Convention be respected, when PP/POWs in North America insist that they be recognized by the UN, when cases of egregious oppression are brought before human rights commissions... this is an acknowledgement of the power of the State and imperialism, but it is also a way that people use what historical opportunities they can to create breathing space, and as one anonymous person said, they may even save some lives in the process. If i can understand why combattants do this, i have no trouble understanding why people facing violence as transexuals and sex trade workers may also choose to do so.

    HRW is a "liberal" organization - which is an imprecise term. More to the point, some of their reports and "human rights alerts" have been criticized as being dishonest attempts to slander revolutionaries. I say they have been criticized as such, but i do not claim to know whether or not this criticism is justified - not being "on the ground" in those countries, if you know what i mean.

    The Blue Diamond Society seems to be a community group, advocating rights for "sexual minorities" in Nepal. Such groups spring up all over the place and often have uneven or diverse political perspectives within them. While they may be frustrating to revs, they nevertheless often represent the least imperfect expression of the interests and concerns of some highly oppressed peoples. That they should decry police violence, and that this protest should be taken up by HRW, says nothing bad about them. Without solid evidence, revs be careful about disparaging such groups' efforts.

    In this particular BBC article, it is not the Maoists but the police who are being criticized. The Maoists are not even mentioned. I brought up the insurgency because i am curious as to the way Marxism-Leninism Mao Tse-Tung Thought is playing out in regards to transexuals in this spot in the world.

    Finally, and sadly, i must object that it is not correct to say "transexuals should support the revolution in Nepal full stop" without first knowing the answer to this last question. Unless one knows the position of the insurgents regarding transexuality, how can one tell transexuals what they should do? Transexuals should be natural class allies to any liberatory revolutionary movement; i have every reason to expect them to support any revolutionary movement deserving of their support.

    But - like everyone else who has posted here - i do not know the insurgents' position on this question. And so, heeding the big guy's advice ("No investigation - No right to speak!") i "investigate" by throwing the question out there once again - does anybody know what the Nepalese Revolution portends for the transpeople of Kathmandu?

  7. > Such groups spring up all over the place and often have uneven or diverse political perspectives within them. While they may be frustrating to revs, they nevertheless often represent the least imperfect expression of the interests and concerns of some highly oppressed peoples.<

    Absolutely. You can see the same thing with some trans organizations in the US, for example. I don't agree with everything they do, but I definitely support them in their imperfection. Why? Because at present, without them the amount of political support for transfolks would drop sharply. Critiquing them is fine in my book, though.

    >does anybody know what the Nepalese Revolution portends for the transpeople of Kathmandu?<

    Yup. That's what I want to know as well.

  8. Trying to answer the question hanging out there: I have followed the revolution in Nepal as well as I can from the limited sources of information available. From my reading on the issue nothing at all has come up... except...

    The Nepalese communists are distinguished by the primary importance they put on women's liberation. It's not some add-on issue, and the participation of women in both political and military roles (including as high-ranking leaders) is in stark contrast to the buying and selling of women that was the tyranny of the real until the revolution caught fire.

    A movement that prioritizes gender equality is a much better bet than the oldest-school patriarchy of the king they oppose.

    Here's a link to the US Maoists allied with the Nepalese revolution engaging in self-criticism over their previous, reactionary position on homosexuality:


  9. I think this is all very worth whil talking about Nepal but why dont you look at the human rights abuses of transexuals in Britain. I am Homeless, Jobless classed as a criminal even if I have no cautions or convictions, made out to be mentally ill when I am not and I am a post operative transexual that passes well. Plus I forgot following botched facial surgery I have 4 titanium screws holding my jaw and chin together - I am not a tranny by the way I am a woman - whoever refers to trannies should note they are men dressing up as women who havent had any surgery at all but I agree I am classed at the bottom of the barrel and have no rights in the UK - take note Gordon Brown your Gender Recognition Act 2004 and Sex Discrimination Regulations 1999 to protect people like me from discrimination in employment arent worth the paper they are written on and I have a female birth certificate. I am isolated, lonely living in a town I grew up as a he having been forced back here to live with relatives so I cant even function socially and cant get on with my life - why because my surgery went wrong or caused complications and I paid for everything else and the consequences of it. Do I regret doing what I did yes but only because of the bigotry - I hate this country and I hate the british - Europe is a lot more tolerant than this country and I know so because its only the UK that frequently gets taken to the European Court of Human Rights for breaches of transexual rights not the other european nations oh except Albania - so please dont just talk about transphoic abuse in Nepal it happens here in Britain - Is that anything to be proud of