This coming week is my tenth public sharing on my experience as a trans person since my first talk in November of last year. It has always been my dream to work as an advocate. Most of the time, these talks are held in universities, where students are meeting the first trans person of their life. I feel I am obliged to give them the right impression of the indifference of a trans person in relation to anyone else in society. Each talk begins with clarifying easily confused terminology and ends with inspiring questions that leads to humour and laughter (in a relaxed way). Every time I finish a public talk, I would be full of hope for our next generation, as they are not only curious (in a good way), but are also respectful and accepting. Each time I come out of the lecture hall I have the same exciting feeling. The feeling that I am not advocating, but rather these students are telling me how I can go even further to make Hong Kong a better society with respect towards those who have trans experiences.
Despite telling my own story and how I search for my own gender identity with struggles throughout my life, I am obliged to let them know how I think of transgenderism, masculinity and visibility. It is important to let students know they do not only understand how a trans person comes to being, but also about what we can contribute to our communities. Visibility is the point.
Whenever I mention about visibility, I keep thinking about why visibility of female-to-male trans people (especially) is so low in Hong Kong. I remember for two years in a gender and sexuality course, there were only local male-to-female transsexual people and foreign female-to-male transsexual people invited to be guest speakers. At that time I was in search of my own gender identity, and I found it difficult to relate my local experiences with a non-local FTM trans person. He was a good speaker though, but his personal experience was limited in his cultural background. It was then that I decided to become an advocate, to let students meet their first Hong Kong trans person, so that they can understand his personal struggle in the local context and to let them know trans people are not distant from their own lives.
Furthermore, I hope to use my personal experience in the arts to let students know trans people can be as creative as anyone else. Usually I show my own documentary blended with new elements of poetry, and explain to them my artistic take on my body and the implications of it. It is essential for students to know trans people are not monsters in the society, but they could be as contributive as the gender majorities do.
It is important to educate this generation about the many gender possibilities. It is my obligation to inspire students and to let them rethink how our societies shape our gender being, and how one can change the current impasse of gender rigidity. At the end of my sharing, I say, "Make A Change. In the future, when someone approaches you and tells you he or she might be a trans person, listen with empathy. Do not discourage them. Give them a hug. A hug of support and love."