Life histories of transpeople in Asia

Annette, Hong Kong

uploaded 19/5/03

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I was raised in a very typical family in HK.  My childhood is very much like any other children.

It was at my early teenage years when I started to read about anything TG.  I started CD then as well.  I usually CD'ed when no one was around.  I would put on a denim skirt, then walked down the stairs and rushed back.  Occasionally, I would have pantyhose on while out.  By the age of 18 or so, I bought a box of contraceptive with the misconception of getting estrogen that way.  Of course I was dead wrong.  I did not even finish the first pack. 

Being very poor growing up, there is really no spending money from my parents.  We did not have TV until I was 11.  Education abroad never came across my mind.  My friend persuaded me to apply for college in the United States when I was studying in a technical institute after high school.

Anyhow, I remember I read on Oriental Daily News a while before that there was a former dancer for TVB (a Hong Kong TV station) who had moved to the States and was happily living there as female.  I was hoping somehow I could be like that if I went to the States as well.  By then I already knew no matter how well the medical technique is, I can never be like genetic girl.

I moved to the States soon after graduation with only very limited amount of money.  It was a very busy schedule indeed.  I was either going to school or working.  The only other spare time was sleep and study.  My girl friend then definitely made it a lot easier.  She made life more palatable.  She did not approve of me wearing girl’s clothes.

I found a job after college.  The boss then sponsored me for immigration, knowing that he can pay me substantially lower than the market wages.  It was then the internet had began its popularity.  My source of information widened from the talk show on TV, adult magazine, and other news outlet, to the internet.  It was quite addictive.  I was surfing the net till 3 – 4 am after work.  The stories, pictures, and medical information were still very scarce then.  When I found them, I would read everything on that site.  Pictures were the last pages to visit.  Many nights I was crying as I read the stories.  Maybe it was that I found out there were others like me, or the stories just hit too close to home.

Once I got the medical facts on the hormone.  I bought quite a bit in HK on my several trips there. I started taking them in lower dosage in the beginning, then increased it gradually.  It was a very dangerous and silly act on my part.  However, I was determined and desperate.  Although I thought I would seek medical help once I reach the point that I cannot hide anymore.  There were trouble signs later.  I moved to another city meanwhile.  I had irregular heartbeat for a while.  Once I checked myself into emergency room for fear of having a heart attack.

I finally came out to a close friend.  She encouraged me to seek professional help.  I promised and pulled out the information gathered about 20 months earlier.  I had my first support group meeting soon afterwards.  My endocrinologist put me on a supervised regimen.  My therapist helped me choose a new name.  A lot happened in those short 3 months.  Being laid off helped too.

The Christmas trip to HK 3 months later was a bit different.  No one seemed to see me as a boy except for one shop clerk and those who knew me.  It was very enjoyable.  Another layoff after my return.  The corporate headquarter decided to close the local branch.  I took another trip to HK with the frequent flier mileage as a surprise Chinese New Year visit.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first ever glamour shoot during the visit.

I did one more interview as a boy.  It was very awkward in a suit.  That was the last time I interviewed as a boy. 

I have been living a much happier life since then.  There are a lot less crying, sadness, depression, and suicidal thoughts.  There is a lot to live for these days.  I read sometimes ago that in a way TSs are very blessed.  Think about that, how many people can truly live the life of two genders?  It is tough to be different.  We have a lot to overcome.  However, it is a blessing too.  There is always rainbow after the rain.

I did not have much TG experience in HK.  There are always people very judgmental everywhere we go.  I am very lucky that I have never been in a bad situation.  The only time was the rude remark from that shop clerk in HK.  I pay close attention to my surroundings usually, especially my rear view mirror to make sure no one follows me.  Dark and quiet places are not places to be too.  There are things that female need to be aware of and be careful with.  I used to walk fearlessly alone during late nite on the way home during my previous trips to HK.  It became a bit scary and nervous walk the last 2 times I was there.  Maybe that is the vulnerability of being female.

The advantage of being here is that more professional help is available.  Being Asian helps too because of Asian’s generally slighter built when comparing to Westerners