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Monday, January 17, 2005

Chico das Saias

On my bike in the hills yesterday I met Chico-das-Saias for the first time. Chico (short for Francisco) is a legend in the hills of Arrabida. He lives in an isolated house which is a landmark - take the path until you get to the house of Chico das Saias and go west through the woods until you get to São Caetano if you want to find your way through the hills. Chico-of-the-skirts (around 65 years old) lives in this isolated spot, employed by the Parks to keep watch over some of the remote areas. He lives his life simply, but comfortably, wearing women's clothes (including a bra that supports a large bosom).

I was reminded of Nadia Almada, a 27 year old transexual from Portugal who won the fifth showing in UK of TV reality show, "Big Brother". And also José Castelo Branco who has just won Quinta das Celebridades (Celebrity Farm) who has mastered the art of elegant gender-switching, as his wife stands by.

Having lived in England for some years, where everyone discusses issues to death - I'm fascinated at how little public discussion there is about many issues, espcially related to sex and gender ... just a sort of general acceptance or a not-talking-about-it. The positive side of not talking about it is that there is no big deal. And the negative side about it is that it looks like there is no big deal!


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