Transgender rights are human rights

Transpinay in the International Arena

03/02/2013 21:11

“When I perform, I feel powerful. It’s almost like I am light as a feather, and one with the music.” So says Nya Ampon, a transpinay who performs at AsiaSF. Established in 1998, Larry Hashbarger and Skip Young opened this restaurant-lounge-dance club is considered not just a must-visit venue but a haven for many of San Francisco’s LGBTs – dubbed the “ultimate San Francisco experience”.

Nya, of course, started performing back in 2003, “when I was (just) 10 years old. A friend referred me to check out (AsiaSF). I fell in love with the charismatic energy of the place”, and so the partnership was made. Now as one of the Ladies of AsiaSF, “we all love and appreciate being able to teach people, as well as share who we are with the world,” Nya said, so that being part of AsiaSF is not necessarily challenging as it has become home for them; instead, through it, “we celebrate ourselves and who we are; I believe that people see the beauty in that.”

“I like to live in the moment and cherish the blessings that I have been very blessed to receive. I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I am excited to see how my story will unfold,” Nya Ampon said. “All I know is that I will continue to have a voice and be heard, all while I live my life happily and to the fullest.”

STARTING YOUNG

Nya has “been dancing and singing since my earliest memories,” she said. Influences included Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and Beyonce Knowles – “some of the artists who greatly influenced and still inspire me.”

It is when she performs that she feels “powerful – it’s almost like I am light as a feather and one with the music.” A lesson she can share as a performer, therefore, is that “whenever I dance, in that moment, I feel free,” Nya said. “Do what you love and what makes you happy because life is too short.”

What the likes of the Ladies of AsiaSF do, for Nya, is relevant to the LGBT community – particularly the transgender community. “It’s a celebration of diversity,” she said. Besides, “who doesn’t love to be entertained?”

PROUD TRANSPINAY

“Unfortunately, I am not too familiar with the trans community in the Philippines – even if I do know of the likes of STRAP, a transpinay organization, which does a lot of good things (in the country),” Nya admitted. Even so, she is aware that even in the US, “the ‘T’ in the LGBT is just starting to get more recognition. I believe that soon people will have no choice but to accept us, as we are just human beings like everyone else. We all want to be loved and be treated equally.”

As a Fil-Am, how different is Nya’s experience as a member of the LGBT community in a Western country? “Having the exotic Pinay genes doesn’t hurt in aiding the acceptance of transpinays in the US,” she laughed. “Being Filipino American, I am lucky enough to be a blend of both cultures. Filipinos are known to love singing and dancing. I am grateful to have a mother who always encouraged me to express myself creatively.”

FACING THE ‘T’

Nya is the Filipino-American subject (one of five) of Cecilio Asuncion’s What’s the T?, described as “an aspirational documentary that explores the challenges, successes, and lives of five transgender women”. In an earlier Outrage Magazine interview, Asuncion considered Nya – with Cassandra Cass, Rakash Armani, Vi Le and Mia Tu Mutch – as representative of “normality and abnormality, seamlessly, in their daily efforts to achieve a balance of feminine and masculine, as the day may require. These women are prime examples of reality and self-assurance in identity.”

“I like to live in the moment and cherish the blessings that I have been very blessed to receive. I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I am excited to see how my story will unfold,” Nya said. “All I know is that I will continue to have a voice and be heard, all while I live my life happily and to the fullest.”

 

Shared by Outgrage Magazine

http://outragemag.com/online/nya-ampon-internationalizing-transpinay/

Association of Transgender People in the Philippines (ATP)

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