This Trans Bodybuilder Is Fighting for LGBTQ Rights in Hong Kong by Competing in the Gay Games
The Hong Kong Free Press recently profiled Siu-fung Law, a transgender bodybuilder from Hong Kong who will compete in Asia’s first-ever Gay Games in 2022. In addition to being a competitive athlete, Law has become an active voice for trans rights in Hong Kong, highlighting the long road ahead for trans Asians.
Meet transgender bodybuilder Siu-fung Law
“I struggled with my gender and sexuality for a long time,” Law told the Hong Kong Free Press. “I attempted suicide several times because I felt I was the only one in the world like me. There was hardly any representation of transgender people in the media and the limited amount was mostly negative.”
Similar to America, Asia’s transphobia derives from an ignorance about trans people. But different from America, native Asian LGBTQ people feel social pressure to remain closeted and heterosexually marry, not from conservative religious values, but from a cultural expectation to wed and have children who’ll help care for their parents in old age.
Law gradually revealed his identity to his parents who initially disapproved but grew to accept him. At first, his dad feared that he wouldn’t have any friends and worried that Law’s co-workers would complain if Law used the men’s bathroom at his workplace. Law’s mom initially disliked Law’s bodybuilding, stating that muscles are for men and not women. However, his mom attended his first bodybuilding competition and told him that he should’ve won all the awards because he had more muscles than anybody else.
Law said that he began bodybuilding as a way to reshape his body rather than undergoing surgery. He also said that some women initially complained when he continued using the women’s dressing room early in his bodybuilding. These days, Law competes as a male but still wears a gold bikini onstage to challenge viewer’s gender expectations.
“I used to suppress my femininity but through bodybuilding, I learned to love my female identity as well as my masculinity,” Law said. “I think we all have both sides but society expects us to suppress one most of the time.”
Hong Kong allows trans people to change the gender listed on their official government ID, but the region doesn’t have marriage equality or laws forbidding anti-LGBTQ discrimination in private businesses. Law considers the latter an important step as many trans Hong Kongers quit and change jobs after transitioning rather than face harassment at work.
Even though it is five years away, I’m already excited about competing in the games in my home city…. For bodybuilding, we hope to have an additional category alongside male and female, either transgender or one where you don’t have to assign a label to yourself. This will send a positive message to the transgender community in Asia.
Here are some pictures of transgender bodybuilder Siu-fung Law
Featured image via Siu-fung Law’s Instagram