HOM #1: “I’ve always hated everything feminine”
“I’ve wanted to be male since kindergarten. There was no defining moment. It was just a desire that came very naturally to me. I’ve always hated everything feminine. Barbies. Floral dresses. Ponytails. Everything I liked was masculine. Toy guns. Cars. Blue shoes. I’ve known all along.
My family tried flattery to bribe me into wearing dresses: ‘Oh! You look really cute! You look really beautiful when you wear that!’ But you can’t be flattered by comments that disgust you.
Dresses became a huge argument in the family. They’d say: ‘She’s a good girl. She studies well, but it’s a shame she doesn’t want to wear dresses. She cut her hair short, and she likes to be a tomboy.’ They would say it very sadly, as if it was a sad thing. But I didn’t think it was. I just wanted to dress up nicely in pants—and I look good in it! I kept refusing dresses. They kept accusing me of being a ‘bad kid’ for not listening to the adults. They never tried to understand me. I had no family support.
My worst experience was when I was at a boarding college for a pre-university course. For the first six months, everything was fine. I dressed in smart formal with my tie and my formal shoes. But once one of the high-ranking admins found out, she called me for ‘counselling.’ She said, ‘You’re smart. You’re good. Everything about you is good, it’s just, how come you like to dress like this, ah?’ She called me disgusting, called me sick. I was only 17. And to be told this by someone so senior? That night, I cried in the shower. She was so cruel.
I forced myself to push through with college life after that. I’m working as a doctor now, but the mental trauma’s still there. It’s been there for years, but when you focus on your life, your exams, after a while, you’re not so bothered by it.
Right now, I’m definitely more comfortable with my identity. Surgery wasn’t a difficult decision to make, and I’m living as my actual self now overseas. I’m leading a good life. I’m happy. I feel that my life has become better and better. My old friends treat me the same. My new colleagues see me as this thin, not-so-muscular, Asian guy – a brother. You know how guys pat each other on the shoulder? I get pat quite hard. But I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It’s acceptance.
I see myself in the future living as a normal male. Hopefully have a girlfriend, a family, a house, a car, some vacation. I just want the normal life of a normal guy. The life any normal guy is entitled to. For the longest time, I felt that I was denied those things. I was stuck in a female body with no support. Back then, I didn’t think I could lead the life I wanted. Now, I almost am.”
Written by Jasmine Wong. Consent has been obtained from the interviewee for the purpose of this publication.