Somros “Rose” Polchareon is a 19 year-old Muay Thai (Thai boxing) champion. Rose is a trans woman and a fierce competitor in a sport that is a sacred part of Thai culture. Traditionally, women are not allowed in the fight ring. But as a male-bodied person the rules of competitive Muay Thai allow Rose to become successful and earn money for the surgeries that will give Rose the body she needs to live a complete life.
Rose is not the first Thai trans woman boxer to use her winnings to finance sex realignment surgeries. In 1999 (when Rose was about 3 years old), Parinya “Nong Toom” Charoenphol was a nationally famous boxer who used her prize money for surgery. Nong Toom’s life is dramatized in the film Beautiful Boxer (2005).
Thai boxing transforms the body into weapons to fight an opponent, but it is more than a sport: Muay Thai is part of Thai national identity. Rose and Nong Toom used Muay Thai to achieve their identities and transform their lives within Thai culture.
According to Dr. Rachel Levin, an associate professor of biology and neuroscience at Pomona College, trans* people do not require the discovery of a trans gene to support our gender identities. Dr. Levin spoke at the Trans Awareness Week event “Rethinking Trans,” held at California State University, Northridge.
In her presentation, Dr. Levin emphasized the inherent biases in past transgender scientific research studies. Dr. Levin’s goal is to help trans* people depend less on science when claiming their gender identity.
The guide entitled, Transgender Persons and the Law, was written by transgender lawyer, Ally Windsor Howell. The guide is a legal treatise and addresses a wide variety of laws and court cases that affect transgender people everyday.
The guide is designed to educate lay people and legal professionals. However, because the guide is regularly priced at 129.95, Transgender Persons and the Law will not be accessible to everyone. Legal professionals who want to defend the rights of trans* people should definitely have this book on their shelves. I believe Transgender Persons and the Law will be the first of many such treatises because, where trans* citizens are concerned, the law has a long way to go to deliver the justice enjoyed by non-trans citizens.