Hong Kong: Valentine’s Day for transgender activist Vincy

Vincy is an up and coming musician in Hong Kong who prefers to use the pronoun “they” to refer to their non-binary, transgender identity. They are 25 years old. They don’t really care about Valentine’s Day, and may not celebrate it this year.

How did you become aware of your gender identity?

I realized that I’m trans in the summer of 2015. I was dating a straight man at that time and he was asking me if I would consider myself gender fluid queer. Since then, I read a lot more about it, and talked with my non-binary, trans friends.

Have you found it more difficult to find love after you came out?

I broke up with my ex a couple of weeks after I came out, he was considerably progressive, but there were differences we couldn’t overcome. He asked questions that I thought were very invasive to me and made me very uncomfortable. When I first dated him I was more feminine, had long hair, and wore dresses. Further down the relationship I started dressing more masculine. I think that me coming to the realization of being trans definitely changed the nature of our relationship.

It is harder for me to love, especially in Hong Kong where the relationships we see are very cisgender [when people’s gender expression and identity accords with their sex assigned at birth] and heteronormative [presumption of heterosexuality or promotion of heterosexuality as normal]. Even within the LGBT community, people who have high visibility are cisgender gays and lesbians. People find it very confusing to interact with me because they don’t know how to identify me: am I a male or female? Sometimes I see confused looks on their faces. When people have this doubt, it gets harder to get to know each other intimately.

I’m seeing someone currently. When we go out, a lot of people look at us as either a gay or lesbian couple. We get stared at quite a bit, especially on the days when I dress more masculine or days when I don’t wear much makeup. I do appreciate that he doesn’t care when people stare at us. We just do our own thing and are comfortable with that. It means a lot to me, that we are able to be out and about and don’t need to hide from the public eye.

What needs to be done for transgender people to live comfortably in Hong Kong?

There needs to be more education on general transgender issues in Hong Kong. As the queer community gets more visibility in media, we need positive representation of the trans community as well.

I would like to see more positive portrayals of trans people on TV and in film, for example people should stop making fun of men wearing dresses, it is not funny. There are all these small things that would make the lives of trans people easier.

While this is a pipe-dream at this point in Hong Kong, I hope this is something we can achieve in the long term.

Can you briefly introduce your activism in promoting trans rights in Hong Kong?

I try the best I can to talk about gender issues, if not specifically trans issues, when I am promoting my music. It’s definitely a difficult conversation to begin with as people don’t think there’s a problem.

It’s hard enough to talk about equality for women in the music industry, let alone other communities. So far the people I have worked closely with are more progressive and open-minded but otherwise I find it really hard to discuss trans rights with other people in the music scene.