19 November 2006

Two transgender role models for Sarah

A statue of Kwan Yin in Shanghai

As I progress through my novel class, I am starting to realize that two longstanding transgender symbols will be of major importance to Sarah.

The first is the Buddhist figure of Kwan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion, who was at first depicted as male, but modern East Asian depictions all show as female.

The second is the chess queen, who used to be a male advisor to the king with identical moves, but as chess made its way to Europe, evolved into not only a woman, but the most powerful piece on the board.

I've already made Sarah a chess player, so the queen will be very relevant to her. As for Kwan Yin, Sarah won't be as familiar with her at first, but when she travels to Asia on her work assignments, she will find out more.

Wikipedia entries:
Kwan Yin
Chess queen

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