Pink Dot 10: He Finds Acceptance With His Religious Family In Tear-Jerking Pink Dot Teaser
Leaving home after A-levels & suffering from a stroke at 32, all led up to Faiz finally reconciling gender identity, religion and family.
The talented artist shares an incredibly touching life-story in the first of Pink Dot’s 10th anniversary videos.
Check out the 3-min video in full here, we summarise it after the jump.
Against all odds
42-year-old Faiz begins his story simply, introducing his name and age before saying,
I’m different. Being what I am, most of the people through life told me I would never amount to anything.
He also added that some people even told him that he “would never own a house”.
Faiz loved catching spiders in longkangs as a child
But it wasn’t apparent to Faiz that he identified differently from his biologically assigned gender until he went to primary school.
Faiz shared that he loved catching spiders in longkangs with his brother, and always thought he was similar to him.
This led Faiz to question his mother why he had to wear a pinafore to school, instead of wearing shorts.
At the time, he wasn’t aware of the terms “gay or lesbian”, but simply felt “different”.
A conservative Muslim family
Sharing that his “Malay-Muslim family” was traditional and conservative — Faiz fully understood what it was like to “have fights with [his] family” or siblings and get “chased out”, not knowing where to go.
After A-levels, he decided to move out from his family home.
A stroke of bad luck
Tragedy struck when Faiz turned 32, as he suffered a sudden stroke and was hospitalised.
He recounts a touching scene when his wheelchair-bound father rolled himself into Faiz’s ward, rebuking him while waving his walking cane,
I want my daughter to bury me, not I bury my daughter.
Within a year after Faiz’s health scare, Faiz relates tearfully that his father told the family,
I know I’ve asked your sister when she’s going to get married every single year.
But now, Faiz’s father had changed his mind, no longer hoping for Faiz to get married to a man.
Instead, it was more important to him that Faiz remembers he’s a Muslim, a daughter, and takes good care of his family.
Faiz’s mother now affectionately refers to Faiz’s partner as “budak kechil” or “little child”.
Faiz quips poignantly,
You know for a Malay family, when it comes to food, it’s very…it’s almost sacred right?
His mother not only shares her cooking recipes with Faiz’s partner, but also “welcomes her in” and regards her as her own daughter.
“She lets me be myself”
Faiz shares a little more about his relationship with his partner,
My partner, she lets me be myself. That’s what I love most about her. It feels like I’ve been with her, all my life.
And that he intended to get a HDB flat by himself at the age of 21.
Faiz had hoped that it would be a place where his dad and mom could “come and chill”.
But getting his first flat was a “bittersweet feeling” as although he eventually got the keys to his own house, his father was no longer there to see it.
Creating a sanctuary
Faiz has hosted friends who were “kicked out of their homes” for being “lesbian”, and wishes to create a sanctuary for people in similar predicaments.
He shares that he was inspired by his mother’s generous logic, as she once said,
You may have your last $10, but you have family to go home to. If you see somebody that needs that $10, give it to them. Because you don’t know if they have one.
Faiz hopes to create a support system for aging LBTQ people, describing himself as an “advocate” for his peers.
Knowing he is both male and a loving daughter
Faiz identifies as masculine, but has not decided to go for any transitional procedures as he respects his religion.
Finally, Faiz ends off by saying,
I’m ready to be myself. To my partner, to my friends and to my biological family. I’m ready to be me and help others to be themselves.
Respecting his family’s values
Faiz prefers that gender-neutral pronouns be used to describe him, to avoid difficulty for his religious family.
Throughout the video, he calls himself a “sister” and a “daughter”, as he respects his family’s values.
However, there are many reasons why those who identify as transgender do not undergo physical transitions, be it financial, health concerns or religion.
More importantly, not undergoing any of these transitions do not make him less of a man, or disallow him to embrace his identity.
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Featured image from Pink Dot SG.