LGBT Film FestivalThe woman who introduced the film said that these people in Pakistan probably wouldn't understand themselves to be "transgender" the way we understand it in the West but would understand themselves as "Third Gender," which carries with it connotations of mystical powers, though there is also the universal experience of alienation and not having good access to medical care and etc.
Kiss the Moon (Chan di chummi)
3:30 — 4:50 pm
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Kiss the Moon (Chan di chummi) by Khalid Gill (Pakistan/Germany, 2008, 80 min.). Kiss the Moon portrays the lives of Khusras, members of a close-knit subculture of transgendered women in Pakistan. Well aware of the complex and ancient cultural traditions of Pakistani society, the sizeable Khusras community struggles to maintain a harmonious relationship with society, but often at noticeable odds. Kiss the Moon demonstrates how it feels to live in a world where life is divided into a rigid binary of masculine and feminine, crossing gender boundaries to discover the true essence of being: the desire to love and be loved.
One of the older Khusras said that they used to be much more respected but now folks are very influenced by cable tv.
We watch one scene of some Khusras dancing to bless a baby boy, and I was unclear as to how much everyone wanted the Khusras to be there -- in part because I don't know the culture, so I don't know if some of what I was reading as hesitancy is just part of the social norm performance (like, when at the end the lead dancer gives the mom back the money, saying it's too little, but ultimately she does take it and says that the mom will have another baby boy next year and so she'll be back next year to dance for that boy).
In one segment, a number of them talked about Khusra community and how they are loved there better than they are by their birth families. But later, one of the older Khusra (called a "mother") explains that each Khusra has a man, without a man life as a Khusra is very difficult. The interviewer asked if this leads Khusras to go into prostitution, and the mother said yes but she disapproves and is glad that her girls aren't doing that.
Despite the intro-er's talk abut "Third Gender," my impression was that the Khusras truly think of themselves as women. Some of them even said as much, including talk about having a "female soul." Some of them talked about how they do all the female domestic work and their families like that, but when they go to become part of a Khusra community their families are all scandalized and don't want them to do that.
There was some talk about being castrated (Nibran Khusra), and one who had had it done said that she felt a feeling of purity, of being free(d) from sin. Another talked about how much she wanted to have herself castrated but she thought surely there must be some purpose for something that God has attached to your body.
Most are given a new name when they become part of their Khusra community. One said she never had an identity card made, said when an official asks for her identity card she just claps once and that indicates that she is Khusra.
There was also some uncomfortable race stuff underneath.
One Khusra wished she had been born white, because she thinks they're prettier.
One Khusra talked about wanting children and had a picture of two white, blond, little kids (one boy, one girl).
And in a segment talking about love, one has a photo from the Titanic movie (Leonardo DiCaprio kneeling and kissing Kate Winslet's gloved hand) up on her wall.