Google+ Badge

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

10 Year Olds and Cross Dressing

Today I want to introduce you to Rick* Rick is a 10 year old Filipino boy. Rick dresses and behaves as if he is a girl. When I first met Rick I was informed by several adults that the reason for his behaviour is because "he's a gay."

To confuse matters Rick is friends with the two girls Charlotte*(13) and Tracey* (10) that our charity sponsors that often stay at my house on saturday evenings to facilitate them coming to church on sundays. Charlotte dresses and acts like a boy and is also labelled "gay" and Tracey has recently had her hair cut very short making her look more like a boy.

Whenever I spend time with the 3 of them in the company of others I spend most of my time explaining to people that Rick is actually a boy even though he is wearing a short skimpy see-through bright purple dress, bright coloured nail varnish and a pink hairband and that Charlotte with very short hair and dressed mostly all in black is a girl. By the time this has all been explained, the vast majority of people are so confused that they don't ask about Tracey!

Maybe you think I'm making light of a serious subject. Let me put it this way; when I first met the 3 of them begging on the street and over subsequent meetings for the first few months, I did everything I could to stop them cross dressing and to remind them of their specific roles. I was especially concerned about how they presented at church and ensured they knew that they must bring appropriate clothes with them for church. I even spent an afternoon in a second hand clothes shop with them and bought them whichever clothes they liked provided they were suitable. This has had a slight impact...

However, on saturday they turned up and Rick (who I hadn't seen for several months as he isn't related to the other two) was wearing a very pretty long girls top with black leggings that had bows on them. By this point, I found that even I was getting confused about his gender as the way he dresses and behaves is so much like a girl. So I decided to give up and hope that its just a phase. My nephew likes to dress up as a princess sometimes so...

I made the mistake one saturday of playing rough and tumble with the children and so now every saturday they expect the same and try and trick me into being drawn into the craziness. This weekend they settled for me accompanying them outside with a skipping rope (after Rick began the game that was "definitely going to break something" in the lounge!) To the delight of my neighbours I was then persuaded to take my turn at solo and group skipping something that I haven't done and won't be doing again for a very long time.

Later I couldn't calm them down and decided to leave them to it as they rushed around. This game ended in tears when the 3 of them turned into some sort of body ball which hurtled at full speed into our very firm wooden lounge table. Unfortunately Tracey's head took the impact taking a chunk out of both object and child. The crack was really very loud but thankfully, although there was a lot of blood and I think an element of shock, all was ok in the end.

Sitting with and supervising the children in church is interesting. They partake in any one or all of the following activities at various points throughout the service; talk to each other loudly, pass notes to each other, pass notes to me and expect me to read them and respond, ask to go to the toilet and disappear for 30 minutes, stare at people they know and try to get their attention, stare at people they don't know and make comments about them, complain that they are cold and shiver, drop pens, paper, hymn books and Bibles on the floor and then make a lot of noise recovering them, ask me who a person is and point at them, fall asleep, sing during the sermon, poke each other, poke me, stroke the hair on my arms, pinch my arms, pinch my hands, take the earphones of my translation device and refuse to give them back, draw pictures of people in the church and label them, try to sit on the floor, draw on the hymn books, pull the plastic off the hymn books, stand up when they should be sitting down, sit down when they should be standing up, deliberately sing loudly and out of tune, crunch sweets that they have somehow acquired, put their feet on the chairs, kick the chairs of the people around them, lean so far forward that their heads are touching their feet and stay there until I wonder if they have fallen asleep.

By the end of every service I am totally exhausted having said "huwag" (don't) and "tahimik" (quiet) at least 100 times and in the main been ignored. I look up at the roof of the church as if I will find refuge there and breathe a silent prayer of thanks that its over for another week having not heard a word of the sermon. Then after lunch at the church, where there are ALWAYS arguments over the food, I give the children their return fare, which I'm sure they don't give to their mother as requested, and take them to the next available Jeepney which will escort them the 1 hour home. Then I faithfully return to the 3pm English service for my spiritual input...