This is truly going to sound very old-fashioned but it is my family that brings out the best in me. I am a transgender woman born into a conservative Chinese family. Since young, my parents have shown me what unconditional love is, but of course at that time I was too young to realise it.
“My son is soft, soft and girly, girly de! He will outgrow it when he enters NS!”
This is often the excuse my dad gives to anyone who is inquisitive about my effeminate behavior.
Of course I did not outgrow my girlish behavior. Instead I embrace my gender identity and started transitioning after I dropped out of junior college as I could not conform to the school system!
I still remember my mum exclaimed loudly, “What will the neighbors say?” when I told her that I just came back from my sex reassignment surgery. Upon seeing me lying weakly on my bed, she next exclaimed, “So, what kind of porridge I should cook for you to heal your wounds faster?“ I felt so loved at that time but of course I did not realise it then, and shoved her out of the room.
Growing up as a post-operation transgender woman in Singapore, I have met my fair share of challenges and discrimination, hardships and petty treatment from the misunderstood public but it was always the affirming love from my parents that makes me stronger. Their love for their son, regardless of who or what gender expression I choose for myself, teaches me to see not the uglier side of humanity but to always look on the bright side, to search for the silver linings in everyone and in every situation.
I know my parents will not love me less if I am a transgender and they will not love my brother more just because he is cisgender. Even without much of an education, my parent chooses to love instead of hate me. Their act of selfless love made me who I am today!
I know they are proud of me today. I truly feel so blessed to have such supportive and understanding parents and that’s why I started The T Project’s transgender shelter to help my community who have been forsaken by their parents and are homeless now.
I want the transgender individuals who are staying at my shelter now to experience and feel the love that I get from my parents and to empower them to stand on their own feet again.
As a happy and proud transgender woman, the best gift is to be able to be yourself!