Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What's your ambition? To be the True You?

What is your ambition in life?

To be your own boss? To live a full and rich life? To be successful? To be happy? To become a great artist? How close are you to fulfilling that ambition? Getting there? Or so very far away?

But what if you were born a man and your ambition was to be a woman? How long would the road be to that ambition and how hard would it be to make it to the end? 

These were just two of the questions that bounced around my mind as I read through the contestant entries for Tru Me, the online transgender pageant organised by Action for AIDS that I have been donating my social media time and knowledge to.

Take Demilya for example. Demilya – just a year older than myself – has “always been wanting to become a beautiful woman”. And from her pictures she is certainly on the way to doing just that. 

Demilya’s proudest moment of her life is the day when she undertook her very first surgery.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it must feel like to want to be a woman all your life and then finally be on your way to physically getting there despite the pain and suffering. It must be nothing less than euphoric to be on that road to self-identify your gender. And this is apparent from the confidence she exudes in her photos.

Ambitions that all trip off our tongues or seem very run of the mill take on a whole new meaning in this context.

Demilya’s ambition is to “become a successful career woman and housewife”.  These are things that many women around me have become with relatively little effort. My goodness how we are taking it for granted!

Then there is Celeste. Again Celeste really puts things in perspective for all those who have been born into the sex that is right for them. Her entry really touched me.

There is a calm and gentle assurance about her as she describes herself as knowing that “The journey is bumpy but I have no regret for my choice in life.” 

Her proudest moment is “having a boyfriend who loved her for 11 years”. In a day and age when divorce rates are on the increase and relationships are harder to hold down, I feel among my generation this is an achievement many of us can't claim to own.

Celeste's ambition is “to be a simple housewife and be loved by my husband”.

Now I know everyone has their problems but it really made me think about moaning housewives I have encountered in my life and all those who take their spouses for granted. If only they spared a thought for those who would give everything just to have what they have. But yes the grass is always greener on the other side - I know.

Mae was another entry which caught my attention. Not only was her photo fabulous but her words really hit home to me.

Her ambition is that "one day, people will not judge us by the orientation of our sexuality or by the sense of fashion that we express, but by the content of our character and the true essence of our being -- Being US!"

And I wondered why are we so far away from this in the minds of so many people? Many transgender people suffer discrimination because they don't conform to the conventional gender roles of male and female.

I think many people reject what it is they do not understand, and yes that's a widespread human response to many things. But then isn't the best thing TRYING to understand? Once you try to understand, you realise transgenders are simply like the rest of us - just trying to fulfill their hopes and ambitions in life.

Mae's words summed up perfectly why I have loved donating my time to this project so much:

" I believe that I can help amplify the true voices of the people which have been hiding or being buried in the dungeon of injustice, persecution and prejudices. It may still be a long winding road for everyone before we reach the ultimate goal of equality, but I think I have the will, energy and the mindset to pursue and continue to represent the essence of TRU-ME by simply being ME."

Well I couldn't have said it any better!

To view these and other entries, and of course to vote, please visit http://tru-me.sg/home and join the Facebook page at http://www.tiny.cc/ajvy6.

With thanks to Demilya, Celeste and Mae for agreeing to be featured in this post.

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