Beauties is an award-winning documentary on Asian transgender
immigrants. We enter the secretive, often misunderstood world of immigrant
male to female transgenders. In a series of illuminating interviews,
Amanda, Imani, Kimberly and Kosal give revealing insights on the issues
closest to their hearts: discrimination, prostitution, and sex reassignment
surgery as well as their former lives, and their dreams for the future.
Interview Transcript (Part 1)
Announcer: Good evening, everyone. Thank you for coming to
tonight's event. I would like to welcome you, personally, and you
must enjoy the show, the most beautiful girls in the world. Thank
Kimberly: But sometimes, like when you're working
on the street, you're inside the bar. And they date you, I'll pay
you like 500 dollars or 600, and just date me. Of course, you're gonna
say, "Yeah, let's go." And then, when you start having conversation
with that person, and you get to know that person, and then you ask
them, "What do you like to do?" or "How much?"
blah blah blah, and then, if they said, "I wanna lick your pussy"
or you know, blah blah blah...Of course, you're gonna get shocked,
right? "Hey, excuse me. Let's stop there. I'm transsexual. I
have a dick."
Kimberly: What do I wanna be when I was 16? To be
a girl, of course. That's my goal to be...to be like this, like a
Amanda: But, actually I was born hermaphrodite. I
was born with both...What they used to do...which was common, was
they'd pick one gender, specifically, I mean...like a...um...in Philippines,
like you know, they wanna give you at least...you know like a - they
think they're giving you something good but they would make you like
a man, so that you have a better chance of, you know, of surviving.
I mean 'cause man is supposed to be, you know, dominant than the woman,
and they make more money and, you know, all stuff. But then, most
of the time, they pick the wrong gender.
Imani: I was scared because I have five brothers
and they would beat me if I act like a girl. And my father really
really hated me if I act like a girl. Well, actually his family, everybody
in his family, his brother's kids, he has ten kids and five of the
boys are gay. And, they're fafafines (a Samoan word which means boys
grow up to be girls.) also. So, he kinda knew someone of his kids
is gonna be fafafine. But, it came out to be me.
Kosal: Around I was 18, just start getting ready,
you know, start dressing up in drag and stuff like that. And, just
recently I started doing it more and more and more. And as time progresses...it's
kinda hard that you decide to, because I came from a traditional,
very Chinese oriented family, extremely strict, and my mom is kinda
sick. So I don't wanna like break her heart, so I kinda do it, on
like DL, like...not my whole family knows about it, definitely not
my mom and my dad.
Kimberly: I don't know about transgender before.
I just hang out with regular people, go to Karaoke bars all the time
and go to the club and...that was it, like stay with friends. I didn't
work, I just stayed with friends. We just go out, have fun everyday.
But then, I moved to one of my friend's and she hook me up for the
job, and when I got that job, one of my friend told me, "Okay,
I wanna bring you to this place that will fit in to you." I was
like, "where?" and he goes, "Divas".
When he got me there, everybody was like, "oh, you're a guy?"
you know. It was interesting. But that time, they told me that you
looked like a girl, you know. We don't believe that you're one of
us, blah blah blah. Just dress up nice and take pills, shots and stuff.
And that's how I, you know, have an idea how to become...like right
now, you know.
Amanda: I've always felt like I've been, like I'm
a woman, and I've always acted like a girl, and...and...to me, I'm
a girl. I mean, you know -
I tried, Gee, I tried hard to be a boy but you can't be something
you're not, you know. I never felt gay. I mean, yes, I live with it,
you know, I live and interact with gay...the gay community but I never
really fit it.
One Halloween night where I am...one of my friend said, "Oh,
you know, we're going drag, and you know, and we go out and..."
And, the first time I put on that dress is like, it was like, it was
like I woke up, is like, you know, like something happened like, like
I felt so comfortable, you know. And...I've been, it's been like that
I mean, I was like what 17 when I did that and it was my sister's
clothes. I sneaked her clothes out and I'd wear them to go out. And,
I'd wait 'til when she's sleeping, I would, you know, I would take
her clothes and she'd wake up, I'd be like in the bus stop and she'd
like, chased me from, you know, to the bus stop saying "Give
me back my dress!", you know. And, years later on, she used to
take out my dresses, you know, because I had better dresses than she
And so, I mean, I guess that, that even down in the end but, I mean,
even with her, she wasn't all to accepting. Um...I mean, after these
days, she calls me him, you know, and I keep telling her, I've been
more sensitive, I mean it's like I don't care if you call me him or
whatever, you know. But, I mean, other people can respect me and say
her or call...you know, or call me Amanda or, you know call me by
my name and...show common respect, you know.
Gender itself is a...cliché, I mean, you can't measure a man
by, you know, by the penis and you can't measure a woman by the vagina.
That's, that's my point.