With the show Strut, Americans and those all over the world, have been introduced to model perfect transgender individuals trying to make it in front of the camera (Strut In 10 Days. Oxygen And Laith Give Us This New Teaser). I know some of my fellow gay men have been floored as to how Laith has altered his body to become a man that many, cis, straight, gay, all look at and envy. Even though he likes the ladies, we can still look and drool, right?
There are many examples of transgender men that have transformed their bodies into something that we all say "oh my god" at. Many of the more well known ones have been from America and Europe, but there are other transgender men that are showing what they can do when they start living their lives as they want to, as the need to, as they choose to. One of those is bodybuilder and role model Kendy from Vietnam. Here is are some excerpts from narrative.ly's story about Kendy.
“Since I came out, some transgender people I know have been more open,” he says. “They don’t hide themselves anymore.”
Kendy stands at the crossroads of two Vietnamese communities – LGBTQ people and bodybuilders – in a patriarchal and conservative society where obedience is often expected of women above anything else, and homosexuality is discouraged.
His brother is “cool” with his gender swap, however Kendy admits that his mother prefers that he’d stayed a girl. “She usually teases me by telling me to get a husband and have kids.” – narrative.ly
Kendy talks openly and candidly about surgery and hormone use.
Doping tests for the competition mean he has to stop taking weekly injections of testosterone for three months. They cost 300,000 Vietnamese Dong (about $14) each, and are imported from Europe. His family believes that sex reassignment surgery would ruin his health. Kendy has his own reservations as well. “If I wanted to do it, I would have to go to Thailand, and be forced to sign an agreement so I could not complain or sue if things went wrong.”
On the first day of 2017, sexual reassignment surgery will be legal in Vietnam, and trans people will be permitted to change their ID documents to match their gender identity. There is a catch, however. Another law defining what conditions are needed to officially designate one’s gender, be it a simple declaration or an operation, has to be introduced and adopted first. Tung Tran, 43, director of ICS, Vietnam’s main LGBTQ advocacy organization, says the law will likely not be implemented until 2018.
[Trans people in Vietnam who want sex reassignment surgery currently have to travel, usually to Thailand, for the procedure. There are at least 270,000 trans people out of a population of ninety million in the country – fifty thousand of whom are trans men, according to the Institute of Society, Economy, and Environment (iSEE). These figures are based on data in comparable countries, social media groups, and its own networks, although the organization estimates the number may be much higher.]
Contemplating the dangers, he begins describing the operation by tentatively pointing to his forearm and then his thigh. “They will take the skin from the thigh to make the body of the penis because that part has many nerves, and the skin from the forearm to make the top part. I am really scared of losing big pieces of skin so I don’t think I am ready for an operation.”
For now, he maintains his appearance with fat-eviscerating drills and testosterone injections. It seems to work. He says he’s had “many girlfriends.”
“I tell girls the truth after a few times hanging out with them. Some of them do not believe me. Sometimes gay men try to hit on me as well. They do not believe me until they’ve asked people around about me.” – narrative.ly
Kendy has almost 6,000 Facebook followers and several bodybuilding clients, many being transgender men that are looking to alter their form without the surgery. For more on Kendy, his challenges with bodybuilding and being in Vietnam, head over to narrative.ly.
Thanks for being an inspiration for the Transgender community, not only in Vietnam, but world wide.