Children &Youth
VACEP 3 - A Girl's life-story
VACEP 3 - A Girl's life-story

The path that I am on is one of challenges and glory. I am a 23 year old transgender woman living in Vietnam. I have overcome the twists and turns of life by myself, calmly facing both the difficulties and the happiness of life. I always live with a burning heart, ready to assert myself from school age as an active student. Proudly, I have held many different positions and achievements. When I was a child, my friends around me knew me well and liked me because I was a friendly kid. I'm aware that I'm different, but don't mind letting my true colors shine through. I confidently choose pink, confidently dance in front of the crowd, because I know who I really am despite the rumors.

A Special Childhood

I was extremely lucky to have my adoptive parents accompanying me on my path. At the age of three, fate brought me to my adoptive parents, and I truly felt it was fate. My adoptive mother, an educated and loving woman who served as the vice principal at my school, was my strong support. My mother's unwavering support has guided all of my life's adventures, from school mischief to self-discovery. My adoptive father, although his education level is not equal to that of his adoptive mother, always listens and is ready to bốnge his behavior when he gradually understands me. Although my current adoptive father has accepted and supported me now, that great bốnge from him is a long and ink-consuming story.

Thinking about my family, there are mixed emotions that connect me to my biological parents. My biological mother, pushed by the currents of life, tried to sell me when I was three years old. Mother lived a turbulent life, married many times and worked as a prostitute. I've had haunting ghosts about drug use since I was a kid. In my family, my biological father and aunt are clear warning signs of substance abuse. Even when I was a 5 or 6 year old kid, I watched them inject drugs right in front of me. They even took me with them when they bought heroin. I was even a screen for my biological father and aunt to use drugs - they pretended to use the family pocket money to take me out but then spent it on drugs. Throughout my growing up, I witnessed the vicious cycle of incarceration of my biological father and my aunt. Fortunately, my aunt later successfully broke this cruel cycle and returned to take care of my grandmother and my half-brother. My aunt also had a miscarriage due to drug use, and now has no children to rely on. On the other hand, drugs are still attached to my biological father until now when he is almost 50 years old. Deep in our family's mind, my biological father was "irreparable," and his future was unpredictable.

This tumultuous past has brought me to a new family that will truly envelop me and nurture me into the person I am today. Among the pillars of my strength, my grandmother was the most stalwart. For a moment, she resolutely resisted her biological mother's attempts to sell me, demonstrating unwavering love and determination. Her love remained a constant force, even as I began my transgender journey. She has always been an unwavering supporter, from being willing to go with me to Thailand for transgender surgery to cheering me on in beauty pageants.

As an adult, I discovered a world beyond the familiar places where I lived. With the support of my adoptive father, I went to Hanoi to pursue a career in hairdressing. However, my path was not without its thorns. Finding a place to live is a challenge, as many people hesitate to welcome a transgender woman into their home. This tension peaked when my father locked me in my room, a moment etched in my memory. Unhappy memories from that difficult time have haunted my relationship with him for many years. However, time has a way of healing, and my father finally understood and supported my decisions, witnessing the strength and resilience I possessed.

My high school community has played an important role in shaping my journey. Through many ups and downs, my friends have always stood by my side, showing unwavering support and solidarity in difficult times. Although my middle school has many bullies, I always believe that a positive environment will foster kindness in everyone. Despite the challenges I face, I am an advocate of embracing my own identity and being proud of who I am. I encourage LGBTQ members my age to find happiness and confidence in their journey, and support the goal of raising mental health awareness.

Later when I grow up, I always carry the lessons of my past with me, aiming to inspire others to find themselves and realize the strength in each story they go through.


Childhood Stages

During my childhood, I felt a strong connection with the feminine. Growing up in a neighborhood where boys were dominant, my only companion was the neighbor's sister in the house across from me. We played together, she showed me what girls usually do like painting and wearing skirts. I gradually fell in love with and preferred feminine accessories and clothes, despite social prejudices. At first, my parents bought me big boyish silver bracelets and bangles, angular and clumsy. I refuse to wear them, I just want to wear feminine, slim and colorful bracelets. My interest in pink and girly items became more apparent, and I enjoyed spending time with girls, participating in games such as jumping rope and fad. Although I bonded with boys through a number of activities, I never really got into their interests. Because of my love of pink, I even asked my father to paint my house neon pink. And it became the only pink house in the neighborhood. Not a light pink but a neon pink, which stands out.

From the first years of my life, around 4th or 5th grade, my adoptive father began to question why I only attached to girls like my neighbor and didn't hang out with boys. I replied that I felt comfortable like that, but my father's anger became more and more intense, leading to fierce arguments between father and son. My perception of myself as a girl has been ingrained in my mind since childhood, without sudden bốnges. Unlike other people who have a decisive moment in their identity, I have considered myself to be a girl since childhood. While many people question their own gender, I have never done so. Even when my father forced me to take hormones to become more manly, I fought back strongly to be who I really am. My path is clear, and I hold on to the happiness and stability it brings.

Around 10th grade, my adoptive parents started hinting at my “gender deviance,” and eventually, I told them directly that I would still be me. The further I progressed in my studies and work, the stronger my father's determination became. My adoptive father feared that my independence in Hanoi would lead to deviations from social norms. Dad even pushed my mom to convince me to take hormone injections, even if it didn't matter how much money, but I protested, adding to the stress and tears from my parents. My father's attitude bốnged; he was uncomfortable, blamed and scolded me. He insisted that I conform to the traditional male gender, criticized my appearance and behavior. The hormone injections led to weight gain, fueling my father's criticism of my body. Although my parents' influence was small, my father's displeasure and urgings continued. Even my appearance is reminded, my hairstyle annoys Dad. My mother advised me not to react ttoo harshly to his words, which temporarily calmed him.

High school distinctions and high school memories

At school, I witnessed the sad behavior of some boys that made girls victims of bullying, even to the point of physical abuse and humiliation. These actions make me feel frustrated, even though I don't know what to do to help. Sometimes, the boys in my class used to tease me, using defamatory words. I've also experienced sad instances of discrimination, especially when a PE teacher and classmates targeted me with painful jokes like "gay" and "slut". These words are like sharp knives, piercing my self-esteem. In one particularly heartbreaking moment, I found solace in moments of silence alone, with my face against the wall, silently crying without anyone knowing. However, after that, I was encouraged and encouraged by close female friends to play with.

Meanwhile, memories of high school are completely opposite. The male friends there showed interest and support, especially during events like Vietnam Women's Day or International Women's Day. Even now, my high school classmates still show solidarity, help, and care for each other. This positive environment has shaped me, built personal growth. I once had feelings for a male friend and now he is married, our friendship still exists, which shows the influence of my upbringing environment. Indeed, the environment makes people, influences their nature and behavior. My high school memories have created me - someone who can be close and share with everyone around, spread positivity and strengthen bonds.

Friendship & LGBTQ Community

In Hanoi, I have social connections, such as people who go to coffee with me or people with whom I interact on social media. Back home, I don't know why either, but people in my community find each other and support each other. Probably because of the dancing - most of them went to the concert with me, performed with me, joined my dance group, then in me they found a companion. Speaking of friendship, if I need to ask for anything, I have a lot of relationships to rely on, and friends can also come to me to share their problems. I still remember a friend of mine, being scolded by her mother for showing her personality contrary to her biological sex, she ran straight to my house, tears in her eyes, lying on my bed, sobbing on my shoulder. I. I comfort her that there will be time for her parents to accept her, that sometimes they can say hurtful words. Just like that, we took turns protecting each other, so that the spirit would not be depressed. I even brought them along to perform and make money; Many of them have financial difficulties, I have helped them since they were in high school.

When I was sick, I found comfort and comfort from my brothers and sisters in the LGBT community. For the past 7-8 years, we have stood shoulder to shoulder, side by side, even in the occasional conflicts. Although there were conflicts at times, we eventually found common ground and resolved the issue. We treat each other like family, like brothers and sisters. Most members of the LGBT community, myself included, have a genuine sibling-like bond. This solidarity comes from shared experiences and understanding. As we matured, each of us started to go our own separate ways. We still maintain the connection, care and help each other when needed. Looking back, I have supported my friends and brothers, which they have acknowledged, until they meet me, they still say: "If it weren't for you, we wouldn't be who we are today. ". I always advise them to be confident, develop their own career paths, and come back with an optimistic and confident version of life.


Romantic relationship

My first love was a tall, handsome guy, the same age as me. It happened when I just finished 9th grade, we got to know each other during a summer term. Our personalities and interests are very similar – we are both “ridiculous and mercurial”, we adore the same idols, we also share a passion for art and fashion. But that relationship was “at the wrong time”, because I just wanted me to focus on my studies, and my father even threatened to beat me if he caught me dating. So when he came to find me, I was so upset that I slammed the door in his face. After that slam, he blocked me on Facebook, never spoke to me again, and pretended I didn't exist when any of my friends mentioned me in chats. But I felt I had no other choice,

I just ended a 2 year relationship. We supported each other in convincing our parents to accept us for who we really are, especially our gender identity. He was there when I was sick, advised me to quit stimulants when I went to the emergency room with kidney stones, and received many other diagnoses. However, during those two years, I often felt constrained - because I was a free-spirited, extroverted person. At that time, no matter what I did, I was afraid that people would judge me. I am very afraid of my boyfriend's family judging me because his family works in the government; they were so conservative that they even noticed my nail polish, hair dye, and piercings.

Actually, being a transgender myself, I also have my own limitations. My ex-boyfriend is a transgender man and I can't have sex with him. I aspire to have a feminine body, but I don't feel attracted to female bodies. I met another man while I was still dating my boyfriend, and I discovered that I liked his body better than my ex-boyfriend's. I also didn't feel like I could show my softer, more vulnerable side to him during that relationship - I always had to brace myself every time we argued. I finally decided to give up on this love affair because of the difference in our personalities and his family's perception. Currently, I focus on taking care of myself, as well as traveling more to experience life.


Using stimulants

In the disco where I'm working as a dancer, there's an unwritten rule about using drugs to boost our energy and bốrisma on stage. I've gotten used to people secretly but recklessly shoving drugs into my hands every time I'm about to perform. And just like that, regularly inhaling that fine white powder before performing became part of my job. After dancing all night, I returned home feeling empty-headed and exhausted. I just want to spend the night alone and separate from everyone.

Having worked at the bar for about a year, I started to see the effects of this job on my mental and physical health. As for my mental health, I've clearly felt my insecurities, from feeling dazed and completely swept up in the music blaring while using drugs, to feeling her single and tired afterwards. Alone in the night, I'll be lost in thoughts again. Then I will sob from stress, boredom and want to give up everything. Everyone outside is used to my positive and radiant image, so when I'm negative, I don't want anyone to see this image of me. In addition, I am also more sensitive to light and sensitive to sound after a period of substance-induced euphoria, all the neurons in my brain are stressed. Sometimes, I even heard imaginary sounds, calling my name in the middle of the night, even though I was alone. At those times, all I can do is facetime with my friends to forget about the goosebumps. My physical health is also in decline. Now I have to limit and abstain a lot because I have many diseases in my body. I once had to go to the emergency room because of a kidney stone that was so painful. In addition to kidney stones, I also have fatty liver, low blood pressure, anemia,...

I also carry this inherent anxiety when I start using drugs as part of my job. I fear that this dark side of me will be exposed to my dearest family, the people in my hometown and the people I will work with in the future. Since I'm currently very active in the LGBTQ+ community and participate in many celebrity contests, I don't want anyone I'll be working with to know about this dark side of me. Regarding the long-term plan, I want to open a dance and model training center in my hometown with the future image of a teacher. I fear that the reputation I have worked so hard to build will be tarnished, just because I have to make a living. Especially in my hometown, there is still a widespread stigma against people who work in bars, where people will rumor that they are related to all kinds of social evils, like prostitution. and addiction.

I have witnessed how substance abuse and addiction deprive my immediate family members of their dignity and opportunities for growth. I still vividly remember how my biological father and aunt were treated by my grandfather when he was addicted. When I was only about three or four and a half years old, my grandfather beat my biological father and aunt so brutally that they had to hide behind a well next to the house and did not dare to enter the house for fear of being beaten again. The thing that haunts me the most is when they have a craving for cigarettes. I no longer see the familiar image of my aunt and father, but only wild animals caged because of hunger and thirst. But cravings are nothing compared to the withdrawal process. Both my biological father and aunt were bốined to drug addiction treatment under the supervision of my grandfather. My aunt was beaten most severely and painfully, with her arms and legs bốined. At that time, I remember thinking to myself, "Life has many paths, why not choose the good path, why do you have to turn yourself into such a horrible form?" On my father's side, he was unable to be a good father and an honest man. Whenever my biological father was unbốined, he would hang out and get addicted again, and the cycle of addiction-rehab repeats itself. Many times when I was heartbroken, I confessed to him: “Dad is also 50 years old, how long do you intend to sink in this mud? Dad didn't take care of me, what about you, my little son? If you don't go to work, you still have to think about how to take care of D. Dad didn't raise me, I don't blame him either. I have never held a grudge or hatred towards my father. But if I let D's brother suffer like you, I'll be a terrible father." Images of the suffering and struggles of my aunt and biological father because of addiction have now been ingrained in my brain as a warning bell for me to completely stop using drugs.

Sometimes, I look back on my decision to work at a disco where drug use is common sense. When I was in the countryside, I was quite financially independent thanks to my job training models and teaching dance to children. When I went to Hanoi to attend university, I didn't have any other source of money, but expenses such as daily expenses, university tuition, and rent began to weigh heavily on me. At that time, I even gave a sizable amount of money to my good sister, who is also from the LGBTQ+ community, to support her with breast implants so I really ran out of money. Besides, the bốrm of the lavish Hanoi is that there are always things for you to buy, like a new phone, a new wardrobe. Looking back, that time was a financial crisis for me, although my adoptive parents gave me some support. I forced myself to do these jobs to make money quickly.

Reflecting on my health, future aspirations and family, I am currently planning to gradually stop using stimulants. For now, I've been doing my best to actively reduce my intake or not use it while pretending I did. However, I've noticed that without the substance's support, my performance stamina depletes quickly. After the performance, I felt like I could collapse in that moment. However, now that I come to work, I am willing to take a pay cut so that I don't have to dance for a long time and do not have to use drugs to perform, as a way for me to protect my health. mine. I know that the root cause of my substance use lies in my work environment, so I plan to quit this job by the end of this year or, at the very least, by the middle of next year.

Meanwhile, I still do my best to reduce the dosage and abstain from using stimulants. However, I am aware and concerned that there will be times when customers in the wall force me to drink alcohol or use drugs. I fear that I won't be able to control myself during that euphoria or under the influence of ear-piercing music and flickering disco lights. My mind will go blank and I may lose my reason. However, I had to practice on my own to build up my steel spirit. I will have to do my best not to get carried away and consumed by these temptations.

Mental health

I always remember the story when I first arrived in Hanoi and was looking for a place to stay. My foster father came to Hanoi with me to look at apartments for rent. At one of the hostels, a landlord refused to let me rent because of my identity. At the time, I still had short, tomboyish hair. The landlord told my father that they didn't want to rent out their house to a "boy or girl" person. Instead of continuing to send me to find another boarding house, my foster father, angry and sad, dragged me back to my hometown. How disappointed I was with him because he didn't stand up for me and was so angry. Instead of being patient and considering other options, he impatiently sent me home and locked me in my room.

Back home, I couldn't leave the house for a week. I was forced to cut my hair. I can't even swallow food. I even had to go to the emergency room because I was so sick that week. I feel very depressed, frustrated and angry. I was disappointed with my adoptive father because he didn't consider my feelings when I couldn't rent an apartment and was offended. Just because I was too shy, because I wanted to fix the situation "immediately and forever", my father did not think twice and vented his anger on me. My foster father, to be honest, he lacks a long-term and thorough perspective. Even when it came to my future, he just wanted me to open a hair salon in the countryside, cut hair for a few people a day, just hoping to have enough money to pass the meal. He lived through the day and thought I would live a similar life. I was disappointed with him for not being attentive to my feelings. I was in a vulnerable situation when I came to a big city from a small and financially unstable town. I felt like I was cornered.

After reflecting, I gradually understood and sympathized with my adoptive father's way of thinking because he was limited by his education and profession - he was a driver. However, at that time, my adoptive father's irrationality and rage caused me to become depressed. I feel like I can't handle it. I even asked you to secretly bring me sleeping pills.... I want to be liberated. Forever. However, as I lay in bed, I really reflected on my life. About what I have yet to experience, unfinished. I've always dreamed of participating in a beauty contest. I had a long list of things that I wanted to accomplish. I threw away the sleeping pills right after.

I would describe myself as a very positive and humorous person. I would say that I am an extrovert. I seek the joy of being with other people and exploring the world. I feel that life has many good things for me. However, when I'm sad, I can't find solace anywhere else but myself. I seek release in art - music and dance. When I'm sad, I'll put on my headphones and dance. Only when I dance do I forget the rest - all the problems, all the expectations, all the sadness in the world. The time I was locked in the house for a week after being denied a place to rent, I was so stressed that for the first time in my life I couldn't dance. I sat there and thought. As I shared, I even had negative thoughts. I thought it would be a way out, and the thought flashed through my heart for a moment. But, then I thought, this life is full of opportunities. My life is still very promising. I still have a lot to give. I fell in love with life and myself again.

I have learned through my experiences that even when difficult circumstances come your way, life is beautiful. I advise you to stay calm - there is no rush in this life. Please be patient. Think things through and keep a cool head and warm heart. No matter what, I always have my family by my side to return to. However, you should also support yourself.

I realized this on my 18th birthday. My grandfather passed away a few days after my 18th birthday. Although we weren't close and talked about many things, his passing made me realize that one day my family will no longer be here with me. At the end of the day, the only person I have is myself. The only person I will have to help me overcome my challenges and who will make me strong is myself. Tomorrow does not promise anything for sure. No one knows what will happen tomorrow. The only person with you for the rest of your life is yourself.


Future Goals and Career Development

I think it's important to create your own path. You don't have to be a billionaire, a millionaire, or have a lot of money. The first and foremost thing is that you must be able to support yourself. As for me, I believe that I need to be able to support myself before I can support my family. Above all, I think the most important thing is to ensure the happiness and health of myself and my dear family. For me, money is not a measure of happiness.

My plan this year is to travel more experience and participate in beauty contests. I plan to re-enter the contest next year, so for now I'm focusing on expanding my knowledge and improving my self-image. I am currently studying at a University in Ha Noi. I don't think that going to college is a mandatory stepping stone for me to pursue that major. But I believe that my studies now will provide me with professional knowledge and general social knowledge. I think it's important to set goals, but not to get lost in too many of them. I usually set specific goals, and when I accomplish that goal, I give myself permission to work on the next one.

I want to look back on the time when I was young with no regrets. It's important for me to make decisions about what feels right to me and not anyone else.

In the future, I would like to work at a position in the local culture and education department. I will also look for opportunities to work at preschools or open a dance studio in my hometown. However, I think my dream is still to work at the Governmental Offices. Even if I work as an accountant at the local government department, I will still participate in cultural programs and activities. So in the future even if I can't dance, I will still immerse my voice in the rhythms.