Transsexuals: Decent jobs hard to come by

Sat, Feb 12, 2011
New Straits Times

THE New Straits Times spoke to two sex workers in Lorong Gopeng, Klang recently.

Raman was 12 years old when his schoolmates mercilessly teased him about his feminine mannerisms, which made him confused about his identity.

He knew then that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body.

He has three elder siblings and a younger sister.

“They objected to me becoming a woman, so I decided to leave home when I was 16,” said Raman, who now goes by the name “Tamana Sri”.

That was four years ago.

Now, Raman is a “she”, having had a sex-change operation three months ago in Thailand.

The 20-year-old became a sex worker because she couldn’t find a proper job.

“I applied to eight companies and they all told me that they did not want me because I dressed up as a woman. They told me they would face problems if they hired me.”

She had a few boyfriends who cheated her of her money and left her. Faced with multiple rejections, Tamana’s confidence plunged to an all-time low.

When she saw a friend, a transgender sex worker, bringing in the money, Tamana decided to give it a try.

She started servicing 15 to 20 clients a day, getting RM50 for every 20-minute session.

She saved up enough money for her sex-change operation, which cost RM13,000 for breast implants and the removal of male genitals.

She took a month to recover from the operation. She said she had not gone for any follow-up check-ups since then.

The job did not come easy. Tamana said some drunk clients had beaten her up before.

“I’ve been hit with beer bottles and there was once a client who tried to strangle me when I told him that time was up.”

Tamana said she would like to have a normal job.

“I don’t want to be a sex worker forever. I hope I will be given the opportunity as I want to move on.”

Tamana has since reconciled with her family members, who have accepted her and see her once a month.

She said she would be very happy if transgender people were allowed to change their gender in their identity cards.


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