and I am a transwoman. I love lip-sync as a hobby, and occasionally perform at private shows, mostly at gay & lesbian clubs.
I first realised I might be transgender
in 2004. At the time, I didn't know how to go about transitioning, who to reach out to...
I thought I was just a gay boy at first
I was part of a dance troupe called Voguelicious, which comprised mainly flamboyant gay boys who dressed up as girls to perform at major clubs in town. It was during this time, and with the love and support of my friends, that I realised I'm not gay, I am transgender.
I was constantly bullied at school
Everyday. Not a single day was fun for me. But I think I got through it with positive thinking. I told myself that those are just words, and I won't let words kill me.
I was already flamboyant as a primary school kid. I had more girl friends than guy friends (even though some of the guys did fancy me). Amongst the effeminate guys, I think I'm the only one who transitioned.
In secondary school, I wore heels to school one time and got sent home. I wore heels again the next day and got sent home again. There was this overwhelming urge in me to wear heels, to be different... I can't explain it. I thought I might be crazy, but then again if I was insane I wouldn't be able to hold a job now, right?
I was put in detention a lot and the school wanted me to go for counselling. I didn't go, of course. I pretended to be a guy for 3 more years.
Every weekend I had to wear a big shirt and sit like a guy
My extended family has a big cookout every weekend so I had to clip my hair, wear shorts... I tried not to speak because my voice has always been like this. I despised my aunts and uncles because they would always call me names... it would leave me crying in my room for hours. I would always ask if I could go out whenever I knew they were coming but my Mum wouldn't let me. I felt like a hamster trapped in a cage.
I had to change & put on makeup at the staircase
I couldn't change into women's clothes at home, so I had to do it at the staircase of my block. I did my makeup at the staircase. When my boobs started growing, I had to put on a bra at the staircase. Sometimes people would see me, I'd just say, "Eh hi, you can just walk past." That's me in a nutshell. My mother used to always wonder why I had such a big bag. Inside got heels mah... hahaha
My Mum and Dad believed I belonged in hell because they are staunch Muslims. Not only were they religious, they were also very strict with us kids. You go to school, then you go home. You go to work, then you go home. No boyfriends, no girlfriends. Having said that, my mother has always been there for me even though she may nag incessantly.
I never did sex work to prove my mother wrong.
I needed her to know that not all transwomen sell their bodies, that we are capable of holding full-time jobs outside of the sex industry. I'm the eldest of four siblings and was the breadwinner at one point. I've been more or less accepted in most of my jobs.
I needed my parents to see that just because I am transgender, does not mean I cannot have a future. I broke the barrier and I am still proving myself right till this day.
I only had my surgery recently because at my previous job, while they accepted my "flamboyance", were not completely supportive of my sex change. I loved the company and I loved my job, but the day I wore women's clothes to work, I was asked to leave within 24 hours. It was ridiculous because no one had ever complained about me, I never took sick leave, and it was the sort of job where gender did not matter. All my colleagues were shocked the day I left. I cried the whole day.
I've been with my husband for 9 years
He is not gay. We met on Friendster, this was way before Facebook came about. He was a mutual friend, and he knew I was "gay" at the time. He had just ended a relationship with a girl and needed someone to talk to, so we became friends. Our friendship blossomed and soon I had romantic feelings for him, but I couldn't tell him because he was straight after all. He surprised me one day by asking me if I would like to be his life partner.
I broke down and cried. Because most of my previous boyfriends were gay men. I had never had a straight boyfriend before.
He's been very supportive and I am close to his family, too. His parents couldn't tell I am transgender. They simply thought I was a very tall woman; he and I are the same height. His sisters know though, because I'm out on Facebook.
We have never quarelled
I swear to God! Maybe it's how we communicate. At home, I listen to him. If he doesn't like me wearing certain clothing when we go out, I'll listen. If he wants me to cook something, I say okay I cook. I just don't like to argue. He understands where I'm coming from. If I tell him - today I have a show and I have to wear this for the show - he'll say okay. He's not the jealous type.
He's what I would call a "conventional" man. He goes to work, he comes home. He doesn't club, doesn't drink, he's not religious, very laidback. I think this is why we never argue.
He respects me for who I am. In return, I'm grateful he has provided me shelter for the last 9 years. If I break this bridge of respect, where can I go? Which is why I don't want to lose him. He is not handsome, but love takes over everything.
I always wanted a hot guy with a six-pack, who is taller than me so he can hug me. But I received a rhino instead. God gave me a rhino and I love my rhino.
My husband is fat but he is very good at designing small aquariums. We have a small side business where he deals with the fish, corals, and I do all the paperwork. I hope we can have a small shop one day. I want to be my own boss.
I have more support from my in-laws than my own Mum and Dad
Last year my husband, his family and I went for a month-long trip to Japan. It was during this trip that I decided to come out to his parents... because I didn't want to lie to them anymore. My husband said, "If you are ready, you tell. If you are not ready, it's okay because I am still here for you." Encouraged by his love and support, I approached his mother first. I told her my "secret", that I was assigned male at birth. She was a little bit shocked but she did not cry... she held my hand and said, "You have been with my little boy here for 9 years. If you can take care of him until you die, then be with him. You have my support." I couldn't ask for more. I have her blessing. His father doesn't talk much but I know he is okay, too.
What would I say to my 15-year-old self?
I'd say don't worry what others think of you. Words are just words. It's your life. If this is who you truly believe you are, go all out, don't stop halfway. If you want to take hormones to become a woman, don't stop halfway. It's your self, your gender, your life. Believe in yourself.
*names have been changed to protect the individual's privacy