I love Radio National! I only listen to it in the car where I’m a captive audience. If I listened anywhere else, I’d never get anything done! Anyway, earlier this month, I heard some fascinating information on RN regarding the practice of Bacha Posh in Afghanistan. This refers to a cultural practice where if a family have no boys, they select one of their girls to be a boy. They dress as boys and are raised as boys with all the attendant privileges. However, around 18 (or marriageable age), they revert to girls. The program was focusing on a Sydney academic who was studying the fluidity of gender and focusing on this practice. See
2012 Three Minute Thesis People's Choice Award - Ludmilla Khodai also Child Rights International Network.
Researching further, I found there is also a practice called Bacha Bazi in Afghanistan- which refers to boys who dress as girls. This is a far more sinister practice where as a symbol of wealth and power, men buy boys and train them to be dancers to entertain and have sex with men. Apparently outlawed by the Taliban, this practice is now re-emerging and growing. See documentary by journalist Najibullah Quraishi The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan.
I would be very interested to read Milla Khodai’s thesis. I can’t help but assume that the strict rules surrounding gender roles, inequality and segregation give birth to such perversion. Catholic priests are another case in point.
Moving on to something joyous to dry those tears: