Tomboys & Trans-men in Myanmar, a work with Chiara Luxardo
Published on Days Japan
Many transgender men call themselves Tomboy, using English as there is no word in Burmese for gay or lesbians other than insults. Becoming a transgender man makes it more socially accepted due to a deeply rooted hierarchical structure that places men above women. However, the situation is far more complex, as in practice there is no space in society for tomboys. In particular, it is often difficult to find a job and earn good salary whereas transgender women can find spaces in certain sectors, becoming make-up artists, entertainers or mediums as people think they have a link with the spirit world. As society is strongly based on heteronormativity and gender conformity, the vast majority of non-normative couples is composed of a person identifying as transgender and another as cisgender. This makes public life much easier, in terms of safety and acceptance, and seems the only model of reference present in Burmese society.