Unlike the West, where the LGBTQx umbrella has been hijacked as a tool to undermine society, gay cultures in Southeast Asia are not transgressive at all. In fact it is the opposite: they are socially conservative.
The various forms of transitioning and homosexual culture in southeast Asia, like kabaklaan (Philippines), waria (Indonesia) kathoey (Thailand), newhalf (japan) and many others are not transgressive. Instead, they are socially conservative. They support the gender binary and the hierarchical society.
This means they should be referred to as a model, in our struggle to give nonconforming people a good life, rescue them from the clutches of the extreme left and save our culture. The transgressive model has to be rejected.
‘Gay’ parades here in southeast Asia, when they happen, are not the aggressive, transgressive protests that they are in the West; they are inclusive, family-fun street parties. In any case, one sees far, far more ‘Miss Gay’ pageants than rallies; that’s hardly transgression.
There are a few, like Neil Garcia and Sass Rogando Sasot, who continue to try to sell Western, principally USican, values to baklas (gays and transwomen) and tomboys (the female equivalent, lesbians and transmen) in the Philippines. Largely, though, since 2015they have been in full retreat.
Sasot, indeed, seems to have placed herself in voluntary exile. She only spoke for a tiny minority anyway and most baklas have never even heard of her; even fewer have heard of Garcia. Duterte’s massive ongoing popularity and his avuncular support for baklas and tomboys, has rendered the transgressive globalists irrelevant in the context of homosexual and transsexual politics.
Heterogender and heterosexual
Kabaklaan and its equivalents provide an accepted social space. In it, persons with non-conforming sexuality and gender may function as individuals and couples within a traditionally conservative, family-oriented culture. To do this, they accept one basic axiom: that ‘girls go with boys and boys go with girls’. In other words, heterogender, though not necessarily heterosexual, relationships are accepted.
Let me put that more bluntly: relationships between straight men and transwomen, and between straight women and transmen, whatever the local terminology being used is and no matter where they exist, are culturally conservative.
They are part of the same philosophy that makes most ladyboys in southeast Asia devoutly religious, believing firmly in family values; the same as why baklas and tomboys in the Philippines are almost all conservative.
They do not wish to see society change, they just want to be accepted by it. In fact, not only do they wish to see society remain unchanged, most would make it more conservative, more family-oriented, more traditionalist.
‘Global Queering’ — not
Kabaklaan and other cultural paradigms like it are the opposite of Western transgressive LGBTQx and this is one reason why they have such a long history: they fit in. This is documented in MG Peletz’ book ‘Gender Pluralism: Southeast Asia Since Early Modern Times‘.
Peletz shines light on the backgrounds to kabaklaan and its equivalents and shows that these are indigenous phenomena, not ones that have been imported from the West. Further, he shows that that their role has always been to permit non-conforming individuals to exist in society with little interference and even, at least in the earlier periods before European colonisation, a significant raising of status.
Kabaklaan etc have nothing, in other words, to do with ‘global queering’ or any other globalist theory. They are indigenous to this region; they are a traditional part of a traditional society. Just because they use modern methods like hormones and surgeries to achieve their desired appearance does not make them intrinsically different from a model that has existed here time out of mind.
By placing same-sex behaviours within a heterogender context, kabaklaan and its equivalents have, for many centuries, allowed a thriving culture of sexual and gender non-conformity to exist. Its path, as Peletz documents, may have been rocky at times, suffering at the hands of religious missionaries and colonialist reformers.
Being so fully integrated with the broader culture has sustained it. Today, with the increasing openness of the post-colonial era, it is blooming — and has no intention of taking any lessons from a divisive, transgressive, shrewish Western model. Baklas and others like them are proud to be what they are.
Status, respect and clans
Social conventions like kabaklaan remain affirmative and respectful of the mores of the broader cultures they inhabit, just as they always have. As a result, especially in the Philippines and Thailand, transitioned individuals are, largely, able to live their lives without encountering serious social intolerance.
True, they have lost both the formal ritual roles that they performed as ‘transgender specialists’ (Peletz) and the status that went with them, save for a few cultures like the Bugis.
(Nevertheless, in Thailand, transsexuals are often still seen as being ‘in touch’ with the spirit world. In the Philippines they are considered talismanic in struggles, against supernatural creatures of the night, that remain surprisingly common, in anecdote anyway.) But in the social context in which they live, they can acquire status and respect.
They begin, it is true, with very low status, but that can be changed. A bakla with a job, even in a carinderia or a sari-sari store, gains respect, because she is not a burden on the clan; she is a hard-working girl. If she is clever and enters in one of the professions baklas seem to specialise in, she will garner even more; and if she becomes the partner of a foreigner (all of whom, it goes without saying, come from lands of milk and honey, where the streets are paved with gold), she will be lionised.
She may even, if she is financially secure, adopt a baby and become a mother in the clan matriarchy. This girl has really arrived. She will be far higher in the clan pecking-order than a single natal woman with no job and dependent kids, because the latter represents a real burden.
Tomboys also can raise their status though career but often become the partner of a woman with dependent children, whose husband has absconded or met with misadventure, and provide for her and her children. Such a tomboy is accorded all the respect due to a responsible family man.
HSTS or True transsexuals in the West
In the West, True or homosexual transsexuals (HSTS), alone amongst trans people, have historically tried (and often succeeded) to follow a non-transgressive, non-confrontational and conservative path.
To do this they would transition, move to a new town and invent a new life for themselves, usually with nobody knowing their secret. This is called ‘woodworking’, from the expression ‘to vanish into the woodwork.’ They are able to because these individuals, if male, tend to physically look and naturally behave like women; with a little care, cosmetics and hormones, the trick is easily performed.
This has met huge, often vituperative, resistance from the transgressive Western LGB movement, which sees it as a political betrayal. They see HSTS, just by fitting in to society, as refusing the political role that is their ‘duty’.
As a result, MtF HSTS in particular often live in constant fear of being ‘outed’ not so much by mainstream society, but by jealous, untransitioned male homosexuals. To these we must add the various species of feminists, who appear to see all MtF transition as an incursion on their territory. All of this shocks baklas to their cores, when it is explained to them.
Boys go with girls and girls go with boys
To give another example of how the non-transgressive approach works in southeast Asia, consider this: I have seen, in the Philippines, relationships in which two feminine male homosexuals came together.
Shortly thereafter, one began taking hormones, grew out her hair and adopted a much more feminine presentation while the other became more masculinised. A year later, they looked like a completely unremarkable opposite-sex couple.
One of them completed her transition and the other moved away from it, in other words. By doing so they could conform to the ‘boys go with girls and girls go with boys’ rule that informs southeast Asian sexual practice.
That in turn meant that they were not transgressing the social norms that they certainly would have, had they both appeared as gender-conforming males, doing something as simple as holding hands in public.
Because they were a heterogender couple, even if they were the same physical sex, no horses were frightened and no apple-carts upset. How one has sex is not so important here; what one appears to be, is.
They could freely display the range of behaviours that any opposite-sex couple could. It would not be transgressive because kabaklaan and its equivalents are accepted as part of the mainstream culture and relationships inside it are seen in terms of gender rather than physical sex. It is conservative.
Transgressive LGBTx dogma challenged
This challenges the absolutist Western LGBTQx dogma. Are the people in such relationships then ‘bisexual’? Perhaps, but only as regards the masculine-appearing partner, not the one who had transitioned. His adoption of masculinity would give his partner a masculine erotic target, in line with her female sexual desire. Her increased femininity would cause the male side of his bisexual nature to respond to her sexually and as a result, he would masculinise.
However, a more accurate understanding might be simply to say that the masculine partner had ‘become heterosexual’ in adopting the role that he had. Such relationships contradict much Western thinking, as regards ‘detransitioning’ and ‘reparative therapies’, which are both hot potatoes.
(In the couples I know of like this, the partner who fully transitioned was already more feminine. It would be interesting, as an experiment, to see what would have happened had the partner who reverted and became masculine, actually entered into a relationship with a heterosexual man rather than another bakla; in other words, a relationship in which she remained a woman. Would she have fully feminised and transitioned? The evidence suggests she would. This illustrates again, the importance of social context in trying to understand the transition phenomenon.)
At the end, we have two models, one which accommodates non-conforming gender and sexuality while sustaining the society and culture it exists within, in a sort of symbiotic relationship, while the other is hell-bent on destroying its host society and replacing it with a Marxist dictatorship. It is not hard to see which is preferable. The West is approaching a crossroads, at which it will stand or fail. This is a nettle we must grasp.