Story and photo by SANITSUDA EKACHAI
Her husband’s ultimate dream was to have a son. But the first son she bore him lived for only eight hours. Their second son is now a transsexual.
As a wife, Boonyok Boonyapisomparn may have not fulfilled her Chinese family’s expectations of a male heir. But as a mother, her unconditional love is unrivalled. And it is this love that has enabled her transsexual child to stand tall against the odds.
‘‘Her love, her full acceptance of who I am, is a major force inmylife,’’ says Sittiphan Boonyapisomparn, 28, an advocate for transsexual rights.
‘‘And I’m very proud of what my child is doing for others,’’ says Boonyok.
When Sittiphan, or Hua to her family and friends, was one of the speakers at Thailand’s first national conference on sexuality recently, Boonyok was among the people in the front rows, her eyes shining with motherly pride.
Sittiphan’s topic — the need for society to see more positive stories about parental acceptance of children with a range of sexual orientations.
‘‘Right now, the main problem is hostility from the family, which deepens the prevailing prejudice that being a transsexual is bad, hence the family’s condemnation.’’
In reality, she says, family reactions to transgendered children are diverse. Some parents, for example, may accept their child’s sexuality, but will not accept their crossdressing. Coming to terms with one another is also often a complex, timeconsuming process.