Author Topic: Reverse Discrimination / Segregation  (Read 4528 times)

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Reverse Discrimination / Segregation
« on: August 07, 2006, 12:31:36 pm »
I have been asked a few times now, what it is like to live and work in an Islamic Country. Primarily being TS and also (more correctly) being a woman.

I have lived 95% of my life in the Western world, but since 2002 have permenantly outside my home country, having left the United Kingdon very shortly after SRS. I have also worked in many Countries pre-transition.

There are a number of beliefs that I first want to establish and these areas follows.

(1) I believe I have the right to be me.
(2) I believe that everyone has the right to believe (or not) in any God they wish.
(3) I believe I should always respect the customs, tradition and culture of the Countries that I visit.

These are not only my beliefs, but core values of mine as well, they define partly who I am.

This post is not about religion, but religion does have a part ( although small) in the subject matter I wish to discuss.

Before I lived and worked in the Middle East, I was under the basic misconception, that women where poorly mistreated and discriminated against in Islamic Society. The truth is very different, there is segregation of the Genders, but woman actually benefit from "reverse discrimination" that exists and have much better access to facilities, services than men currently do.

Before I go on to describe some of the above scenarios and why I believe they benefit women, I want to talk about dress codes.

Ask anyone about womens dress in an Islamic country and they will probably mention Burqa, Hijab, abaya, covering ones body and face and dressing in Black. This is not a religious requirement it is a cultural issue. As one of my local friends said " Why would God make women wear Black in one of the hotest regions of the world" .. She has a point, no where in the Qu'oran does it say women should cover their bodies and faces, although it does say they should cover their hair (many other religions, cultures also cover there hair).

Wearing of Black outer robes is both tradition and custom and believe me most of the local  women wear designer Western clothes under their robes ( I see this every weekend at the beauty salon) and also have wonderful long (normally Black) hair. Why Black, I am not sure but in Western Civilization we have a similar cultural thing where good guys wear white, bad guys wear black.

As a Westerner I am not bound by the religious requirements but try to dress in moderation, out of respect to local culture. Skirts below the knee, long shorts, long sleved blouses, when I work. If I am visiting local clients I will wear a Black suit (pants or skirt) and always wear my hair up. Sometimes I even wear a head scarf if I do not know the client or it is a first meeting.

Today I had  a number of chores to do and will use these to illustrate the effect of segregation and "reverse discrimination". Most Government offices, hospital etc. have a seperate and segregated womans only areas.

I went out today wearing, cropped trousers, short sleeved T-shirt and had my hair up, very nice pair of high heeled sandals and nicely made up. My first stop wasthe "Court of first justice" to have some business documents authorized by a judge. No waiting in the courthouse, there is a seperate hall for women and they have theirv own judges..... in past a long queue of men and out in about 15 minutes, 3 other women in the waiting room.

Second stop local telecoms provider to change my mobile and landline phones over to a business number, typical place, go in take a ticket (124) number currently displayed (45).... yeah, but that is for men only. Ladies no ticket and you can sit in leather chairs being served coffe and cold drinks, why you wait for the queue of 10 ladies to get served. In the meantime the guys are seething as people push in and a few arguements break out.

On to the hospital for my blood tests and my new labour card..... Ladies parking area, big queue of expat men, no women, straight in and two lovely Female Doctors waiting to take my blood. 15 minutes later off for a chest X-Ray, again Ladies section, the whole visit took 30 minutes.

There are women only days (Fri) on the beach and Saturday is Family day, when you can go with husbands and Children, the atmosphere on both days is wonderful and stress free, it is a nice atmosphere to relax, unwind and spendtime with girlfriends over a glass of wine in the beach cafe... sure if you want to be leached at, suffer inuendo and constant stares of strange guys, go any other day in the week.

My friends and I recently worked out that we could ,if we wanted get free entry and drinks everyday of the week at one nightclub (or another) as there is a Ladies Night every night..... Mens night (they get half price drinks on a Wednesday) doesn't exist.

There are some fantastic Ladies clubs, that have everything you could wish for and offer beauty, gym, fitness, swimming, training courses, the one I use also has a internet cafe and employs Female security guards.

Men and women do openly mix, there are no restrictions on this, shopping malls are packed, cinemas are packed at a weekend. They are allowed in the police and Fire Brigade and many women drive taxis or work as driving instructors...... because women prefer to go with them.

Boys and girls are segregated at shool from an early age.... but this benefits them academically, even in the UK experiments with single sex classes have shown that both sexes benefit (especially the boys ) from that environment.

I get treated extremely well by the local men, they are gentleman to the extreme and I get shown all the privledges any woman would expect to get shown (hopefully anywhere) in the World.

There is virtually no crime, I go running late at night or early morning, leave my car unlocked , walk to my friends villa (30 minutes) and have no hesitation walking in underground car parks late at night. In the UK I was burgled twice, had bricks thrown through my windows, had my tyres slashed on my car for being Transsexual. I would NEVER go out late at night, on my own, it was not safe.

I personally know where I prefer to live..... ;D

Not all the region is as liberal as where I live. In Saudi or Kuwait, I could not drive a car, vote or even get a job as a woman, go out alone or leave the country without my husband permission, now that is discrimination.... or is it culture.

I truly did not know what to expect when I first moved here. It is not discrimination, it is a just a different perspective of how men and women are treated. Women are treated with a great deal of respect because, due to segregation they are being seen or are talking mainly to women, the communication and interaction is better. Men get to deal with other men and the conflict that invariably brings is everywhere to see.

As for being transsexual, I have been here 2 1/2 years and not had any issues yet or come near to having to discuss my past. Only my closest friends know my past andall my documentation is in the Female form, including my birth certificate.

As I said.... I believe I have the right to be me any where in the world.


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Re: Reverse Discrimination / Segregation
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2006, 12:49:58 pm »
Interesting. I think a lot of the customs that now qualify as "inequality" and "discrimination against women" were originally in place throughout history to protect women. If you asked a woman in the medieval period if she felt discriminated against, she'd most likely say no.

Nero was the Forum Admin here at Susan's Place for several years up to the time of his death.


Re: Reverse Discrimination / Segregation
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2006, 02:26:41 pm »

This is very interesting.  I know that as Americans, we seldom have a positve perspective of foreign country.  And especially now with the problems that are going on in the middle east. I think that everyone should live in a foreign country for a while.  I lived a couple of years in South America.  I have a greater appreciation for other peoples as a result.



Re: Reverse Discrimination / Segregation
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2006, 12:50:29 am »

I truly did not know what to expect when I first moved here. It is not discrimination, it is a just a different perspective of how men and women are treated.

 now that is discrimination.... or is it culture.
As I said.... I believe I have the right to be me any where in the world.

   Thank you for chossing to bring this subject, I believe is about discrimination versus culture, am i correct?  and you see that the environment where you live provides a good control to observe the differences, ?
 discrimination can be part of a country's culture such as The old South Africa and Rodhesia, and when the culture changes eventualy the laws may reflect the change.
  Is interesting that you included a comment about how different islamic countries have different leves of acceptance.  How accepting of <not allowed> could they be?  I remmeber that when i was 18 i read the uncensored 1001 nights book and homosexuality was treated with respect. At least somewhere at somepoint they felt that way.
  I like how you have approached such a difficult subject, i mean difficullt only because many people have already a formed opinion about islamic cultures blah blah.
  It would be interesting to know what they think of transgedered people like  ...Ru PAul how would you go about asking without alarming them ...i don't know if they even would be alarmed by it  or they already talk about it. at any rate thanks your post is educational and timely and useful, thanks BUffy
love, no matter what, sheila18


Re: Reverse Discrimination / Segregation
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2006, 04:04:53 am »
Hi Shelia,

<not allowed> / Sex Changes are not banned under Islamic culture. Access to medical treatment is very poor / difficult  and obviously there is not the specialism in expertise. Restrictions on travel also means that people cannot travel outside their respective countries with any ease for treatment, although I know of people who have done so privately.

I know quite a few TS in the region from Iraq through to Saudi. Iran for instance has a greater percentage of FTM TS than the expected statistical average. In such a restrictive culture for women, that is probably not surprising. I have met one MTF TS in Iran, who actually regrets her decision to transition, because of the way she is now treated as a Female.

Both Transamerica and brokeback mountain failed to make the cinemas here as they where considered " against the moral, religious and cultural requirements" of the country. Constantine was actually pulled the day after opening, there was much debate about the DaVinci code beforeit was allowed to be shown and "The Kingdom of Heaven" where heavily censored to take out some of the religious references and scenes depicting the massacre of Muslims. Most films are censored that contain any sex (but not violence). Interestingly there are NO CINEMAS in Saudia Arabia at all....

Many of the TS support sites I could access from the UK are blocked here and I cannot get on the Suporn Clinic site for example as it is banned. These I can access if I travel in Jordan for example.

Homosexuality is a crime under sharia law, in a recent press report in my own City, police arrested and charged 32 men with hommosexuality after a raid on a 'Gay Party". They where taken immediately to court, found guilty and given a choice between prison or Testosterone injections (to make them men!)... Clearly a lack of understanding by the judicial system here, but also a potential opportunity for the supply of hormones for any FTM TS!

Saying that, there is a very open gay scene in this region and openly advertised on the internet (but only accesible outside the region)

« Last Edit: August 08, 2006, 09:46:37 am by Buffy »


Re: Reverse Discrimination / Segregation
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2006, 09:59:49 am »
I doubt there are many MtF transsexuals in Kuwait...


Re: Reverse Discrimination / Segregation
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2006, 10:24:35 am »
There is a population there but it can be difficult to get by due to how conservative the area is and all.