To Be a Woman

Never have I imagined in my entire life that I would be a woman today; I thought it was impossible! I felt empty throughout my life—a lost soul; a living corpse with no fun in life.

Sometimes, I felt that I wanted to close my eyes and not wake up. I felt this way since I was four years old. That was when I had tried my mum’s bra and heels, to her dismay.

But when I was 25, I discovered that I could become a woman through the power of hormones. Getting my mum’s approval was a tough road but I decided that I had to live again for once. Life then had meaning.

Soon, I met an influential transgender activist and she encouraged me to realise who I was. I remembered her words from when I went to meet her: “Min, being trans, every single thing people will say will be negative things about you. Can you handle that?” No turning back after that; I have to live for myself now.

I finally moved out and got a supportive mentor who was a good friend of mine. I started looking for a job. I felt God was right beside me, holding my hand. I applied for this admin job in an MNC, recommended by my NGO.

I still remember when I was waiting for my turn for the interview, a bunch of Malay women looked at me as if I was such a big shame, an abomination to society, but I didn’t give up.

Nervously walking into the interview room, I asked my then manager if I could wear female attire to the office if I got selected for the job. I couldn’t believe my ears when he said with a smile, “You can wear anything you want!” For the first time in my life, a trans person was allowed to choose her own freedom.

When I started my job, I felt touched when my then coordinator told me how the manager and ex-director went around the building management to enquire if I could don female attire.

There was resistance, of course, but the management finally said, “Yes.” In my company, I was referred to by female pronouns and I felt very included. I was even more touched when my ex-coordinator told me, “Don’t worry, Min. I know you’re trans, but I see you as a girl. So be comfortable here.”

Tears rolled down my eyes from the love I had received. I was truly treated like a princess—a privilege not enjoyed by others in my community. But, my life was far from perfect.

There was an incident where the staff from a different company (my building comprised several companies that worked under one roof) accused me of entering a male toilet. My colleagues handled the issue without involving me; they defended me till the last minute.

To be honest, getting the job was a tough journey. But, I did not give up! The job description was not related to my experience nor my studies, but I proved to everyone that I could get the job done. Now with nearly two years at the company, I have received two awards for my hard work. So, my advice to youths out there—do not ever give up! You may never know what is in store for you.

— MD