A once great newspaper’s descent into special-interest, sex-obsessed self-parody is now complete. Even if the Gray Lady did have to travel all the way to ladyboy Indonesia to find the subject closest to its Leftist heart just before Christmas. The headline says it all:
Transgender Muslims Find a Home for Prayer in Indonesia
As the call to prayer boomed over this midsize university town on a recent Sunday evening, rows of conservatively dressed Muslim women laid out their prayer mats, bowed toward Mecca and murmured prayers in Arabic. As dusk fell, it was a ritual being carried out in mosques and prayer academies across the city. What set this academy apart is that most of the worshipers here had been born as men.
Tucked away behind a large mosque on a side street in Yogyakarta, Al Fatah Pesantren is, according to its leader, the only Muslim academy or madrasa for transgender people in the world. Shinta Ratri, the school’s 53-year-old director, founded it with other transgender women in 2008, two years after a major earthquake convulsed the city. “It was a time of suffering, and transgender people needed a way to pray,” she said. “We needed a place to worship together and learn about Islam.”
One might observe that they’re still as much male as Bruce Jenner, but hey…. Meanwhile, let’s blame conservatives. Using the Times’s special definition of “conservative” of course:
Transgender women have few opportunities to worship, as their defiance of strict gender categorization challenges conservative Muslim views about gender.
Note the sneaky use of the word “gender,” which has gone from a grammatical term, to a synonym for “sex” to the current faddish signifier of sex as a “social construct.”
In Indonesia, transgender women are known as waria, a portmanteau of the Indonesian words for man and woman. Though waria have long been part of Javanese culture, they are shut out of most formal work opportunities and live at the margins of society.
They can become hairdressers at salons, dancers in risqué shows, occasionally even pop stars. Many, though, work the streets, begging during the day and engaging in prostitution or other sex work at night.
The story goes on and on at mind-numbing length, hoping to evoke sympathy for the Times’s new favorite minority group. You can read it all at the top link, but here, as we say in journalism, is the kicker:
Asked about the place of transgender people in Islam, [Shinta Ratri] gives a broad smile and pulls out a Quran, pointing out passages that, she says, prove that Muhammad cared about transgender people. “It’s proof! He cares about us!” she exclaimed, tapping her finger on a passage about a man who does not desire women. “That’s transgender, that’s gay!”
Can’t argue with that.