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Ladyboy abused by Hong Kong Immigration Officers

Maki Gingoyon
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One week prior leaving  for Hong Kong, I felt seriously scared. I was scared because I have heard sad stories from my ladyboy girlfriends who had travelled there. The Hong Kong immigration interrogates trans women passengers a lot. I find it pretty normal specially if someone has questionable records. But questioned during your first visit in Hong Kong and because of your gender is a different story.

By the way have personally experienced this during my travel together with my boyfriend Simon.  They asked me politely though albeit being an inconenience.  But others had worst experiences, Sasha a transgender woman from Colombia had a nightmare in Hong Kong Immigration.

Sasha’s experience as a transgender woman abused in the airport

She was not just questioned but also sexually abused just because she is a transgender women. She visited Hong Kong only for the purpose of working on her legal papers through the Colombian console to pursue her Masters Degree in Taiwan. Instead of having the hope of pursuing her dreams it was for her the start of the destruction not only to her career but to her whole life, her whole being.

She got detained and put behind bars, worst part is that she was placed in the male’s section for the reason that her passport says “M”, not even considering her female appearance. Sasha’s experience  in Hong Kong as a transgender woman, could happen to any one of us. A human violation that took place in a first world country like Hong Kong is completely unacceptable.

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Culture VS. Dignity

Is culture more important over respecting a persons dignity now a days? I understand that Hong Kong is Chinese and there culture is very conservative. But hey,culture is created by people right? thus this culture can easily be change by people too. Unfortunately they don’t even consider adjusting there backward culture to be open minded enough to accept diversity. No wonder Sasha was experiencing discrimination while in the Hong Kong immigration.

Culture is one of the reason that discrimination still exist (sad to say) another reason is lack of education and voluntarily not want to be educated.  I believe that they are aware of transgender people’s existence and because of the so called norms they tend to disregard them with out knowing that they are already violating human rights. And because LGBT specially transgender people is not recognised in this kind of conservative society like Hong Kong obviously there is not law protecting the trans community.

Hong Kong is not the only country to discriminate trans women in the airport

A possible way to take advantage on them that would lead to different kinds of abuse. This doesn’t only happen in Hong Kong. Sasha did not even get any assistance from her country’s consulate (Colombia). She had also had a terrible experience from her native land.  People should stop discriminating trans women!

I believe Hong Kong as a first world country should be an example of tolerance towards human diversity and acceptance specially to LGBT community. UN (United Nation ) is giving hope to Sasha by supporting and keeping her as a refugee. This case does not show that Hong Kong is not a safe county, as a tourist I had a great time  there.

But this would serve as a calling for everyone to take a global action in protecting human beings; regardless of race, colour, religion, gender, etc. Global education about LBGT is a must. World wide cooperation is necessary to make it easier for people to understand the existence of LGBT people. And through this, I am confident that we are going to slowly diminished discrimination.

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About the author

Maki Gingoyon
Maki Gingoyon is a transgender woman and trans rights advocate in the Philippines. She is the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of My Ladyboy Date. Her advocacy focuses on bringing awareness to trans issues and ending the stigma that surrounds trans relationships. She has used pageantry as a form of increasing trans visibility. She was the winner of Queen of Cebu 2010, Queen of the Sky 2013, and the Mandaue Gay Pageant 2017. She recently competed in Miss International Queen Philippines 2023 where she won Best Advocacy. She continues her advocacy by helping trans women and trans-oriented men find love.

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Comments (1)

  • When I took my partner (I must apologise for calling her my GF on other blogs)
    Abroad for the first time , I went to go through Filipino passport control with her but was directed to the foreign passport entrance. She had all the requirements for a Thai visa. She had her bank card with about 6000 pesos in it, £300 of English money in Cash that I had given her, a return air ticket, hotel booking confirmations and a copy of my passport. The Filipino passport officer looked at her passport and saw Male . He then subjected her to nearly an Hour of grilling and intrusive questioning. She was finally released after I enquired what was happening to the staff on the security section. I thought she had changed her mind and returned home. I hate to think what would have happened if she was to meet me abroad.

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