Sharan Suresh (Malaysia) In this reflection, the author speaks about the
vicissitudes of life as a transwoman.
I’m a Malaysian woman, born with the wrong anatomies. My birth was such,
probably, to make a difference in the world, and to open the eyes, minds and
hearts of those who are ignorant. Life is always filled with surprises, but
what happens when you are born with a surprise? That’s how I was born. Facing
rejection, being a subject of hate and disgust to others, others who are
common, who love to label themselves as “normal.” But those normal
people out there forget that I’m as real and human as they are.
Having discovered my true identity, I am on a
journey of completing myself, so that I may seem common, and may seamlessly fit
in. I’m tired of the limelight, the staring and the gossips. I am who I am. I
have a little heart, which beats just like yours. It feels all the emotions
that any common person would feel too: happiness, sadness, hurt, contentment,
anger, you name it. Then why do you look at me as if I’m some sort of an alien?
In my heart, I have dreams like you, and wishes
too. My dreams are not so big. God has blessed me with loving parents and a
very loving husband. But because of society’s rejection due to the blind faith
and ignorance of others, I’m a slave to my birth defect. I cannot be legally
bound to my love. Thus, there are no rights to protection and civil benefits
for us in the country that I, and my father, and his father, were born in.
In my birth certificate and my Malaysian identity card,
I am known by a race which is not my nationality. Since I cannot be legally
married, I am prevented from having a family. My dreams are small. I want to be
a mother soon. God has not given me the gift to bear an infant, although many,
who have the gift, misuse it for selfish purposes and abandon their babies. There
are many persons like me who are hungry for love, waiting for the moment when
they will be carried and cuddled in a pair of warm, loving arms.
I would love to adopt two children. One girl and
one boy. Since I’ve been facing so much hate from the outside world, I have a
lot of love locked up inside, ready to be shared. I want to be a mom. I want to
be able to cuddle my baby and see it smile. I want to listen to my baby’s first
words. I want to watch my baby grow, grow into someone worthy in society, and I
want my children to look up to me and say they love me as much as I love them.
I want my children to know who their mother (me)
and their father (my husband) are, and to respect us and learn from us. I will
raise my children to be intelligent, and will not forget to inject family
values in them as they grow.
I want to grow old lying on my husband’s shoulder,
watching my babies become adults. I want to grow old and marry them off. I want
to spend the last days of my life next to my husband. I want to reminisce on the
memories and be proud of my achievements. And when my time comes, I want to go
without pain, with my head rested on his lap, and his hand on my cheek. I pray
to God that I will go before him and only after my children are well-settled,
because I am not strong in bearing the pain of his absence.
That is when my soul shall truly rest in peace.
Now, I will continue to pursue my life’s ambition,
ONLY if our government acknowledges my gender identity which is different from
the one I was assigned at birth. My parents are willing to testify ─ so is my
family, which includes the man who lives with me 365 days a year, 7 days a
week, 24 hours a day; my husband, a common heterosexual man ─ in public and
before the court of law that I am a real woman, not a man acting as a woman as
many people assume.
I want to be able to get married legally so that my
children can benefit from it when they go to school. I want to adopt my
children legally, having my name as their mother’s name, and my husband’s name
as their father’s name. I do not want them to face any complications, rejection
or any issues when they go to school.
Though I know I’m not a common woman, I want to
have a common family and a common life. So why am I exiled for something which
I have no power over? My birth condition has been diagnosed globally by
well-renowned doctors and scientists. Yet, I’m rejected by society and
politicized by the government and some religious authorities who confuse
themselves with what is “faking it” and “honestly living the life.”
I do not blame them for their ignorance, but I do
blame them for being selfish and inconsiderate, for not being rational by using
the gift that God has given them to think properly. Instead, they choose to
abide by texts and religious terms and conditions which even contradict "real”
When will my dreams come true? When will my
sufferings stop? Why am I being judged and punished by other sinners who have
no authority over me, especially when I’ve done nothing wrong?
Sharan Suresh is affiliated to a non-profit/non-governmental organisation which deals with
HIV prevention and LGBT rights.