A year ago, we committed to a range that celebrates multiple sizes and we asked our #mattertribe to be a part of a community shoot. One of the questions that often surface up for brands is how involved should we get in politics? As a team and brand grounded on the pillars of social change and equality, we felt we wanted to do our part in becoming more involved and vocal in the existing conversations of our community. June was Pride Month, a time to celebrate the impact the LGBTQIA+ community has had on the world and to commemorate the ones before who’ve fought hard for the progress today. Which is why for this year’s community shoot, we wanted to celebrate people who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community in Singapore, to celebrate their stories and spotlight the existing conversations here.
What’s your “story”? What do you need the world to know about you?
My story – is about metamorphosis, self discovery, and the relentless fight to be authentic to who I am. I am a transgender woman, model and entrepreneur in beauty, who believes in equality for all, and advocates for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.
As a transgender model and entrepreneur, what are some misconceptions on gender and sexuality that you’ve encountered?
Gender and sexuality are often lumped together in the same category, but in reality, they are two separate entities. As a trans model and entrepreneur, I had experienced an amass of confusion from my peers, usually regarding my gender, not so much my sexuality, as I had openly declared that I was gay early on in my teen years. People around me were, and still are till this very day, perplexed and intrigued by my gender identity. Being a transwoman who has a legal female identity, I still get questions on if I’m still male, and if I would identify, and if my circle would see me as male, irregardless of my female appearance, legal gender status and genitalia. In all honesty, I identify as female and have always felt that way from a very young age, hence the motivation to go through the gruelling process of transitioning from male to female, to match my physical body to my mental and emotional state of mind.
What was a pivoting point in your journey to self acceptance and celebration?
My pivoting point was, when I went through a divorce. I had realised that I had tried way too hard to live my life as cisgender female, and to follow the life norms of a cisgender female and to erase my status as a transgender female in my own mind, and to whoever was around me, and ended up in relationships, and was surrounded by people who did not celebrate and accept me for my past, present and future. I did not love myself for what I was, so I took the time after my divorce to discover who I authentically was, and what I really wanted in life. I got to know myself all over again, and with time, I had learned to love myself for all my strengths and drawbacks, and grew progressively self confident of who I was – an intelligent, capable and beautiful transgender woman.
What is the best piece of encouragement you’ve received about yourself?
It was that I was larger than life, and that my purpose in this world was to help many people on their road to self discovery and happiness. This kept me going on days where I just felt mentally and physically drained.
What are some materials (books, movies, articles, or otherwise) you’d recommend for people to engage with to learn more about LGBTQIA+ culture?
Growing up, I would watch YouTube Videos to gain knowledge on LGBTQIA+ issues and culture. There are alot of reliable and relatable content available on that platform, and as a plus point, you can pick and choose which videos would relate most to yourself as an individual.
Section 377A is an unjust law that punishes the LGBTQIA+ community, and it is an extension of all other forms of discrimination the community faces in Singapore. In your words, why should the Parliament hold themselves accountable in repealing this law?
Over the decades, Singapore has evolved into quite the international hub, and plays host to many huge political events on a global scale. In this current day and age where LGBTQIA+ issues are being addressed in the mainstream media and in political scenes all over the world, a sanction such as Section 377a would render Singapore’s image as conservative and backward, and that is something that the Parliament should take into consideration, as it might affect the country’s standing against other nations who are comparatively more egalitarianistic.
What does sustainability mean to you?
It means being able to maintain longevity without depleting or destroying the resources, and harming the Earth’s vital eco system.
What is the relationship you have with your clothes?
I use it as a form of self expression, and occasionally, as an artistic form of expression.
The concept of using textiles and clothes, to foster inclusion and the convergence of different communities, to make a difference in the lives of people, and to promote self-expression and self-authenticity in everyday lives.
What is one thing you stand for and believe in, and why?
I stand for equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community. I am egalitarianistic, and I gained this perspective coming from my own personal experiences on being a transgender woman, and the prejudice I had to go through.
We are proud to have Andrea Razali as a Fieldtester, a group of inspiring individuals that test MATTER products in their everyday journeys of passion, to help us improve durability and design. Andrea is wearing our Slit-Back Maxi + Mayura Rust in size 2, and the Wrap Skirt + IChing Charcoal in size 2.