I grew up in a Christian family. We were born here and our parents are from Malaysia. I’ve always been masculine, a tomboy. I accepted that I was a girl but had never really believed it or felt like I was. I was often stopped from going into the women’s toilets because women thought I was a boy.
When I told my parents at age 14 that I had a girlfriend, they didn’t like it. Prayed for me, told me it was wrong.
When I was 16, I worried for about half a year that I would burn in hell forever because I liked girls. I considered just trying to not like girls, and try to like boys more, because burning in hell for eternity didn’t sound good.
In my early 20’s I discovered that you could take testosterone and transition to looking like a guy. It took me quite a few more years before I could work up enough courage to be honest with myself about who I am and what I needed to do.
And through alot of that time, I never felt like I was “really” Chinese. I hardly ever saw any Asian people in popular culture or media, and I never saw any butch – tomboy chinese girls, never knew any queer asian people, hadn’t met any transgender Asians. Like never having looked in a mirror. It felt really isolating.
I also struggled with depression and suicide throughout this time, trying to work out my place not only as a queer person and a transgender person, but also as an Asian queer and transgendered person. There aren’t alot of role models for this as you can imagine..
Now I’ve been on testosterone for just over a year and recently had chest surgery. My Dad is fine with things, my Mum struggles, and my three siblings are really great and supportive. I get to define what kind of guy I am, and how I am Chinese. I’ve also found lots of other queer and trans Asian people.