Saturday, December 05, 2009

Transsexual Ai Haruna struggles for tolerance in Japan

Ai Haruna @ FCCJ press event
report & vdo

Ai Haruna is a Japanese TV personality, she was crowned
the world's most beautiful transsexual a month ago in a
show contest in Pattaya, Thailand.

Kenji Onishi was Ai Haruna's name before because she
was a man. She lived with difficulties since she was a

Now she is not just an other trans who parades on TV
shows in Japan. She speaks politics and justice. She
fustigates discrimination in her, his country: Japan

Discrimination is a word that provokes irremediable
power of attraction to a journalists' crowd. We
invited the character at our FCCJ press event.

Haruna is 37, pretty, manly cheeks, strong voice but
feminine laughter from times to times, large shoulders
and big hands -naturally- She wants her country to be
more tolerant toward people of diverse sexual

"I was surprised to see many transgender people work at
hotels and restaurants with no problem in Thailand,
Japan can learn many things from other Asian nations
like Thailand and the Philippines."

In Japan, people can legally change their gender on
official documents, but transgender people still face
spoken and silent discrimination.

Discrimination where?

She recalled condominium owners had declined to let her
rent apartments because neighbors may object. "I was
rejected five straight times," she said. "I think Japan is

"I was born with a very masculine sounding boy's name.
But I always wanted to be a girl, always dreamed of
becoming a pretty idol seen on TV." "But for a long
time life was very difficult for me."

"Even after I had a sex change operation at the age of
19 and had my first boyfriend, I encountered many, many
obstacles that constantly made me realise I wasn't a

Now crowned the world's transsexual queen, Haruna wants
to work internationally to raise awareness for sexual
minorities. "I want to work for those who are troubled
like me," she said. "I want to work in the world. And
of course, I want to be married some day."

In Thailand, trans came to change because of financial
reasons but in Japan it is an other story. Simply
said, a current societal change.

Ai Haruna VDO @ FCCJ event

photo & vdo © Asian Gazette 2009

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