Gender Identity

When you think of gender identity, you think about what a person identifies as their own gender. For some, they have a hard time identifying whom they are and what to actually identify as. I decided to cover the key concept of gender identity. In the two readings of “Global Divas” by Martin Manalansan and “Sexile” by Jamie Cortez, this concept is expressed. In the reading by Cortez named Sexile, we get a personal perspective from a story about an individual named Jorge but also known as Adela. Adela is on a path of self-discovery and also transition to becoming a woman. In the reading Global Divas, Manalansan expresses the border between bakla and gay.

In the reading Sexile, Adela, as mentioned, is on a path of self-discovery. Throughout the reading she is an individual by name of Jorge whom knew what she wanted for herself at a very young age. Expressed that she loved to have sex and thought at the age of 10 her penis would fall off and a vagina would form. He was judged at a very young age, boys would call her hurtful names, which can mess with someone self-esteem. At one point in the story, Adela participates in the school drag show, and she owned it!  She walked the catwalk and showed others who she was and whom she always wanted to be. Even when she was drafted, she dressed the way she wanted and showed whom she was and got sent back. On her form they stamped “Intelligible for service, Homosexual.” Although that’s what they identified her as, she was proud. She said, “I just felt like I had a right to be whoever I wanted to be.” (Cortez; 16). Later on in the story, Adela expressed to her peers that she wanted to change her gender and was put down, but in the end, she went through with the process and despite some of the outcomes of the transition, such as her becoming a whore, she overall became happy with whom she was.

In the reading Global Divas, Manalansan defines the term Bakla as a male whom is attracted to men. In the States, most would think of a male who is attracted to another male is what they call gay. In this case, it’s different. The Bakla men dress and act just like woman but you wouldn’t identify them as trans but Bakla. In the reading, it is said that the Bakla possesses a “female heart.” (Manalansan; 25).  It’s obvious to the difference between what we considered of men whom are attracted to other men than those who live in the Philippines. Not only does this give you a different perspective on gender identity but it also gives us a cultural perspective.  Although, there are some Bakla’s who don’t cross-dress, there are masculine Bakla’s as well. Bakla men fully accept who they are and what others see of them.


The concept of gender identity is greatly significant to transgender studies for the simple fact that transgender is identifying with a gender other than the biological one your assigned at birth. This class in itself has opened up my eyes in more ways than one. From different cultural perspectives, personal experiences labels, and hearing the thoughts of my classmates.  For people like Adela, despite their preference of identity, we are all humans and should be accepted for who we are.


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