This week has been full of finding myself in terms of my gender identity and being able to express it to people. Recently I have been reclaiming the word Kateoy which is considered by western language as a third gender. In the word Kateoy there are two subsets of people that exist. These are “men with short hair”, and this group are men who have sexual intercourse with other men and the other is “charming girls” which wear women’s clothing and sometimes have sex changes along with hormone therapy. Normally they would be considered a transwomen in the western world language. However, from my interactions and my experience they do not actually identify that way. It is hard to force someone into a social box that is made for western worlds. There is a level of complexity and culture that is attached to the word that the western world will never understand unless they were emerged into the culture for a long period of time.
I personally identify with the “charming girls” and have a strong spiritual tie to the word. I understand the context and where it comes from. I know my culture enough to understand the ramifications of claiming this world in the western world. Many people would not understand the difficulties of claiming the term and then having people force you into another word of term that doesn’t fit you. While it is currently not safe for me to wear women’s clothing often, or get a sex change and do hormone therapy I would not want to do it currently either. There is also the misunderstanding that all “Charming Girls” have sex changes and go through hormone therapy. That is actually not true, and many of them just wear women clothing and have long hair. I am reclaiming this word back for myself and to create discourse in people’s language. Most people cannot pronounce the term and, I enjoy watching people struggle to try and get it right. It is a staunch reminder that in other cultures there have been and still exist people who are third gender. People should talk about other culture when including trans folks into the discussion because our existence have existed far longer than the terms that exist today in western culture. By me claiming the identity that I mostly identify with, I create discourse in this patriarchy, sexist, racist society, I let people know that my people exist in this world as well.