“Reverend, I am June I am a sex worker and I work in a brothel in Geylang. I want to ask you a question, Will I go to hell.”

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Yap Kim HaoA Reflection by the Rev. Yap Kim Hao of Free Community Church, Singapore

Observance of Transgender Day

Last Sunday Free Community Church commemorated the victims of the transgendered people who suffered and died in misery. Responding to the invitation, a significant number of transmen and transwomen were present. A few shared their experiendes of stigma and discrimination by the wider community in society. The Church honoured and celebrated them and pledged to stand in solidarity with the transgendered community.

Last night Oogachaga & Project X organized a meeting for the wider community and about sixty of us attended as allies and the transgendered.
It was one of the rare occasions that the issue was discussed openly with the hope that more will accept and support the Trans people in our midst.

Most of the time Trans people are pushed to the extreme margins and ignored. They are everywhere really and hoping to receive the common courtesy and equal rights like any other person. Trans people remind us that we live in a rainbow society and that we must embrace diversity of race, colour, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. We not only need to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor but also the gulf between people who are unlike us for each one of us is different and can never be identical in all aspects with the other.

Trans people have great difficulty to secure employment and some of them have to resort even to sex work. On a previous event of FCC for the transgendered, I came into the Church and was met for the first time by June who like others have already been condemned to hell by many. She took the opportunity to come right to me and introduced herself. Boldly she said: “Reverend, I am June I am a sex worker and I work in a brothel in Geylang. I want to ask you a question, Will I go to hell.” This took me by surprise and I was stunned. What can I say which is honest and meaningful. For a moment I was speechless and then an unexpected flash of insight. I replied, “June, where you go, I will go too!” Happily she opened her arms saying “Reverend, give me a big hug.” We hugged and became good friends since then. She later enrolled in a diploma course of NCSS for social work and was ranked among the top of the graduating class. Currently, she works in a Women’s Care Centre. June is the Coordinator of a new ministry to Trans people – the T Project.

She is transgendered and had surgery at the age of seventeen and had to earn her living. After years as a sex worker, she owns her own HDB flat. She was accepted by her family members all along. She is out and proud and just want to be treated as another human person in the community. What can I honestly say to person who has been maligned and condemned to hell. Are you and I so sure that we will not go to hell too. All of us without exception are on different stages of the same journey in a destination yet unknown.

What we do know is that we who are created all different from one another must not despise, discriminate and condemn another human person. No person is an alien to me.

Source: Facebook Timeline of Yap Kim Hao



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