Transgenderism in “Transgender Buddha Faces Mara”

The inspiration for the piece is multi-layered. I created the painting while living in se Asia, namely Thailand, but also traveling throughout areas like Cambodia. While living there I studied Theravada Buddhism and explored the culture.  In Thailand they have a 3rd gender, the Katooey or Ladyboy, which is a normative accepted aspect of the region.

In my own experiences, also, I have come across many instances of gender transcendence–when I was eleven I spontaneously fell into a gender void in my awareness, unable to find anything that defined me as male or female. Later, as a late teen and young adult I began to realize the spirits of various gender types within me. Even the realization of the attributes of my parents merged within me added to this sense. The idea of transgender, as a term, became the transcendence of gender; namely the channeling of many variations of gender, and in due process inhabiting all of them, and yet none with particular ego attachment.

It is a very Buddhist kind of meditation, to be aware of the discernments of many genders within one’s being, exploring them, and yet graduating past them as definitive markers of personal identity. One then becomes oriented naturally within the genders as a manner of being and not a manner of categorical reflection.

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