/Daily News

The Story of A Ladyboy
/ 17 May 2011

Emely looks like a very pretty girl. If you saw her on the street you wouldn’t think that it was actually a man who had captured your gaze. And that’s where the duality of her existence begins; Emely feels like she should be a girl, but reality dealt her a different card, and genetically she is a boy.

It’s a pretense that most of us never entertain. Our bodies match up with our gender. But, for this 24 year old, that was never the case. Around the age of 13 Emely started to feel, “that inside, there was a woman’s life.” As a kid a separation between her truest self and what others expected emerged. It’s a division that has underhandedly predetermined her career options, choice of friends, even which city she calls home. Born in Surabaya she came to Jakarta as the big city offered job opportunities and a like-minded community that simply didn’t exist elsewhere. Nevertheless, even in Jakarta, in her professional life as a make-up artist, she operates as a man, working as female lip-syncing performer and party MC only on weekends. It’s on the weekends that Emely can be her authentic self. She admits that its hard to be someone else five days a week, but contends that her culture, “doesn’t fully accept Ladyboys, and, I have to think about my family.”

Emely’s big heart and considerate ways become obvious once you start talking to her. She’s charming and soft spoken with a gentle nature that is instantly apparent: “People tend to think inside the box when it comes to gender and find it hard to see a ladyboy as a human being.” When I ask her if she is happy, she takes a moment and then replies, “Yes, because I let go of worrying about what people may think about me.” She works with Arus Pelangi and wants to spread her message that “everyone, including waria can contribute to society.”

Emely adds, “my advice to someone struggling with the issues/feelings I had as a child would be, don’t rush into decisions. Consider who you are and if you can be ‘normal’ then choose to be normal. Try normalcy first. If you can’t be normal, then accept yourself. Time will tell you who you are.” Her poignant advice underlines the notion that most people would choose to be normal, if they could. Emely though is by no means normal. She’s an extraordinary person, whose commitment to simply being herself, is in itself a significant and relevant gesture.

Words & photos by Melany Zwartjes.

Related Post

Capital’s FW 2014 lookbook is out and we’re taking a sneak peek into this collection that’s deeply rooted in street skateboarding and 90s fashion
29 October 2014
Los Angeles streetwear brand Undefeated delivers a follow up punch to its first 2014 Fall Collection that was released back in August
28 October 2014
Fred Perry and izzue teamed up once again to celebrate izzue’s 15th anniversary by releasing the Fred Perry X izzue collection
27 October 2014
Put on your best costume and come celebrate Halloween a day late with KUSTOM KOSTUM Halloween Party
27 October 2014

Popular Post

Roemah Pulomanuk is the perfect combination of relaxing getaway and getting closer to nature at the same time
29 August 2012
Introducing MISC, where discarded woods get a second chance to live as brand new furnitures
30 April 2013
We discovered a hidden gem in the middle of the busy streets of Antasari and we …
13 May 2013
A short account of Seringai’s vocalist, Arian13. From failing to watch the Metallica Concert back in 1993 to being the opening act of their concert in 2013
20 September 2013
Open menu