We live in a society that loves categories and classifications. Everything and everyone needs to be labeled and have an identity. A whole series of labels is imposed on each of us- national, ethnic, religious, racial, gender, sexual orientation and so on. We are expected to have clear answers when asked about them. When asked about nationality, “I don't have one” is not a valid answer. You better have one, or else.
Gender is one of those things that has troubled people for millennia. There are only two options- male and female. And yet, in every society there exist communities that conform to neither category. These are people who defy classification and are therefore marginalized, persecuted and stripped of any recognition in society- they don't even have voting rights. Democracy, then, is quite a selective thing. You can only participate if you fit the regime's available options. To be excluded from democracy you don't need to kill people or do anything similarly horrible. Being a little 'weird' ought to be enough to get you kicked out.
From the Insight Desk
(R) thedailystar.net 2008