Photo: IOM / Muse Mohammed

Gender Equality and Cultural Diversity: Beauty in Transition

“I was interested in joining the beauty course because I have a girl’s mind and I would like to learn more about beauty and this subject. I am transitioning to be a woman. I am finishing my vocational course soon and it has taken 3 months.

I would like to learn everything including cutting hair for men and women and doing makeup.

When I first wanted to attend this training my parents didn’t agree with this decision as these jobs are generally done by women but I asked them again and again and eventually they agreed. In Mon State there are many transgender women who are working in the beauty industry.

After I finish the training I will try and become a professional and I will work at my friend’s shop. I hope to one day open my own shop. I was planning to eventually open a shop in my ward as there is no shop there. It costs about 20 Lakhs (around $1,500 USD). I will still need to learn for about a year before I am fully competent.

My father doesn’t like my transitioning. In front of my father I have to appear like a man. My mother accepts me.

Here the teacher explains everything in details and I also used to work at my friend’s shop before I attended the training where I learnt some basic knowledge on how to dye and straighten hair, but here I can learn more detailed techniques.

I can also use some of the techniques I learn here for my transition. If I wear like a lady I look more beautiful. Here there are not many people who have transitioned but in Yangon, (Myanmar’s largest capital city) there are some famous people who have fully transitioned.”