Friday, August 19, 2011

Meeting The Transgenders - PART 2/2

This song is originally posted on the 29th of May 2011

The other transgender we interviewed was Betty (not her real name):

Above is the recorded interview with Betty. Alternatively, read a short writeup below regarding the highlights of the interview.

Betty is a transgender. For a living, Betty is a sex worker who stands by the streets to wait for customers. Betty began realizing that she was a transgender at 15. Once the family found out that Betty was a “lady-boy”, her family members did not accept her and began rejecting her.

However, Betty is happy being a “lady-boy” because that is her own choice and she has found many friends that have accepted her as who she is.

Betty likes to work in other industries such as being a promoter but she is unable to do it because many of the bosses are unwilling to accept her long hair.

According to Betty, sex work is good for her because she can get easy money. She can earn around 100 Ringgit per day for her job in the sex industry.  Betty sees no problem in doing this job in the long run because she views it as a job like everyone else.

In fact, Betty is a shy person by nature. Luckily, she has very good customers who do not physically abuse her, unlike some of her fellow counterparts.

In the future, Betty aspires to be a successful person who owns a house and a car.


It was quite heartwarming to hear Amy and Betty share their stories with us. Just like us, Betty is also someone who wants a good life and aspires to be a successful person. However, because of her transgender issue, she has faced many difficulties in landing other jobs and is also being rejected by her family. She is unable and unwilling to get married, fearing that more people will reject her.

Nonetheless, she did not give up on herself and has persevered on in hope to lead a better life. We hope that we will be able to convince Betty to take up the opportunity to engage in the data entry project, so that she can make a living through this new skill. And hopefully, in the years to come, she will be able to fulfill her dreams one day :)

Meeting The Transgenders - PART 1/2

This song is originally posted on the 29th of May 2011

We met up with several transgenders and one of them was Amy (not her real name).

Above is the recorded interview with Amy. Alternatively, read a short writeup below regarding the highlights of the interview.

Amy is a transsexual. It all began when Amy starting wearing female clothes at 15 years old while waiting from her school results. She also began to work in a pub as a Public Relations Officer, primarily involved in entertaining guests.

Currently, Amy is working as a make-up artist. However, due to the intense competition in the make up industry, there are lesser jobs available for her. Because of that, Amy works as a part time sex worker.

In terms of the amount she charges for the sex work, Amy classifies them into 3 categories (per hour basis):

a. Oral – 50 Ringgit ,      b. Massage – 100 Ringgit ,    c. Sex – 150 Ringgit

Amy has been in this industry for 25 years and the advantage she has over the new workers are that she has a pool of regular customers. These regular customers will visit her usual standing spot instead of calling her because Amy never discloses her personal information.

Amy is also a lucky girl because she has never been caught or encountered any uncovered policeman during her involvement in this sex industry. However, some ladies have not been so lucky.
When asked about her interest in learning a new skill (typing), to do some jobs in data entry projects, Amy does not welcome that idea. 

Computer work is not ideal because it pays very little as compared to sex work. Amy prefers doing sex work because it offers easy money. Money seems to be the most important attribute for transsexuals, because that will give them the money to buy almost everything they want, sometimes including love. 

Amy has a 11 year partner and they stay at his parents place. She is lucky because she has found someone who loves her. Quoting from Amy, her boyfriend loves her “for who I am, not what I am”.
Most transsexuals come to Kuala Lumpur because it is a hub for many sex workers to find customers.
Currently, Amy works as a volunteer in PT to help educating the other transsexuals about drugs and HIV issues.


Based on the interview, we realised that convincing sex workers to move out of the industry is a difficult task because it is challenging to find another job that pays them equally well. For example, a data entry project or work will never be able to offer the competitive money as compared to sex work.

Hence, not many of them are willing to give up their current job for another which does not pay as well. Moreover, data entry may also be something that some may be unfamiliar with.

Despite saying that, we also noted from the interview that there are many unhappy moments that these transgenders and sex workers face on their current job, which include being caught by the police, being looked down and neglected by the general public.

As such, we hope that through the data entry project, we are able to convince more of them to pick up a new skill and hopefully help to eliminate these unhappy moments in their lives.

PHASE 1: Meeting The Ladies

This song is originally posted on the 4th of May 2011.

In February, we met a group of ladies who were interested in participating in this data entry scheme. Most of these ladies are part of the network of the SLE Association in Malaysia. It was an insightful experience as we interviewed them individually and learned about their background and motivations in being part of the scheme.

We met a total of 7 ladies and noticed the vast range of differences in personalities and backgrounds among these ladies despite the fact that all of them share a similar disorder. Some were outspoken and confident, some were shy and spoke very softly. Some were students looking for temporary employment for their holidays, some were working adults looking for extra part-time income, some were just in search of an opportunity to learn new skills.