Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 20th 2015 Contents A29
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
The Mitsubishi corporation is to make
a landmark apology for using American
prisoners of war (POWs) as forced
labour during World War Two.
An executive from the Japanese
company will make the apology to
former POW James Murphy, 94, and the
relatives of other one-time prisoners.
The executive will express remorse at
a ceremony at the Simon Wiesenthal
Centre in Los Angeles, officials there say.
Campaigners say it is the first formal
apology by a Japanese firm to POWs.
"We hope this will spur other
companies to join in and do the same."
said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate
dean at the centre.
The apology in Los Angeles on Sunday
is being made independently of the
Japanese government, officials say.
They say that it is an important
gesture ahead of the 70th anniversary of
the end of the war in August.
Protesters of mostly Korean or
Chinese descent took to the streets of
Los Angeles in May to protest against
Japanese war crimes, during a visit by
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
No cash compensation has been
offered by Mitsubishi. (BBC)
Japan's Mitsubishi to apologise for POW forced labour
wake up one
morning and hap-
that they no
longer want to be
the sex they were born as?
Not really, psychologists say. A
number of factors play pivotal roles
in the decision to change one s
gender. In fact, research has shown
that it is quite often than not, bio-
This is also the view of local
psychologist Dr Keith Lequay who
told the T&T Guardian sexuality
and gender have a lot to do with
genetics and hormones. Lequay
said someone can be male but their
gender female. He explained some-
one s physical package may appear
to be one thing but that doesn t
chime with the person s psyche and
"Therefore, when you hear some-
one say they always felt they were
in the wrong body, this is what you
should understand. It is not that they
are experimenting or trying to be
what they are not. It is them actually
trying to be their authentic selves.
Vanity Fair s July edition---head-
lined Call Me Caitlyn---featured for-
mer Olympic decathlon champion
and reality television dad, Bruce Jen-
ner, with long chestnut hair and
wearing a silky pearl white basque
that revealed 36D breast implants.
This cover set social media buzzing
with some followers on the trans-
gender Caitlyn Jenner s Twitter
account either tweeting love and
support or their shock and displeas-
ure at the Kardashian clan stepfa-
ther s transition.
Locally, almost every radio talk
show host made it a hot topic and
invited listeners to call in and com-
ment. Once again, there were offer-
ings of support and outright expres-
sions of disgust.
Jenner s public transition or change
of gender is not the first for a celebri-
ty and probably won t be the last.
In 1975, American tennis player
Richard Raskind made the transition
to become Renee Richards. Lately,
French supermodel Ines Rau, Amer-
ican actress Laverne Cox, writer and
transgender activist Janet Mock and
Chaz Bono, son of pop singer Cher
are among the notable examples of
people who made the gender tran-
sition. Jowelle de Souza will run as
an independent candidate for San
Fernando West in the upcoming elec-
tion is this country s most high-pro-
file transgender person.
The T&T Guardian approached de
Souza and other local transgender
people to share their stories, but was
Jenner has said she always felt she
was born in the wrong body and had
these feelings as early as age five.
The 1976 Olympic champion also
said she hid her "true self."
"This is quite possible and real,"
Lequay said. "And because this has
not yet been socially accepted and
many people still believe it to be
some sick twisted work of a dement-
ed mind, there have been many
tragedies among this community.
"Many have committed suicide
because they could not deal with the
pressure of society and suppress-
ing their authentic selves for
much longer," said Lequay.
He said it may take some time,
but education is needed. Such
education, Lequay said, must be
frank and open, so that people
are more sensitised and aware
and can become more accepting
or tolerant of transgender peo-
Transgender and law in T&T
When it comes to legislation
on the rights of transgender peo-
ple, T&T and other Common-
wealth Caribbean states are sorely
lagging behind. Colin Robinson,
executive director of the Coalition
Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual
Orientation (Caiso), told the T&T
Guardian there is little legal literacy
about these issues, and past court
decisions demonstrate how little
understanding of human sex and
gender diversity there is among those
on the bench.
Robinson added, Caiso s interven-
tions with those in leading public
hospitals and in Government poli-
cymaking reveal similar misunder-
standings or ignorance about trans-
genderism and intersexuality that
would make it difficult for policy
leadership and advocacy for appro-
priate legal reform to emerge from
"Some cultures recognise only two
sexes. Some cultures, like our own
indigenous ones, recognise a third
or "two-spirit" category. But in our
contemporary society, like most
western ones that colonised us, gen-
der is seen as a binary. Legal systems
reflect this binary notion of gender,
and with people assigned to one sex
immediately at birth, sex shapes a
lot of what is possible for them in
the law," said Robinson.
He continued: "Educational insti-
tutions, in Caiso s experience have
been particularly intransigent with
transgender students, consistent with
their historical colonial mission of
imposing rules. There is no frame-
work in the law that requires forms
Transgender in T&T
What does the law say?
Jowelle de Souza
is running as an
of ID issued by non-state entities
to accommodate gender-conforming
"We are not aware of any formal
policy on this matter, even for gov-
ernment-issued documents, eg
health cards; their issuance may be
subject to the whim of a supervi-
Sex on identity documents
Robinson also pointed out the com-
plications faced by this community
when it comes to legal documents.
He said in our legal systems, there
is no mechanism for changing sex
for any public health or human
"Though our habit of enforcing
our personal morality in delivery of
public goods and services sometimes
makes this process complicated, there
are no laws to prevent a man or a
woman whose birth is registered as
one sex from legally changing his/her
name to a name that is seen as female
• Continues on Page A30
Caitlyn Jenner at the Espy Awards
where she received the Arthur Ashe
award for courage. AP PHOTO
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