"There are many religions out there that I couldn't follow because it goes against who I am as a transgender being.
When I was younger, my parents tried to humiliate me in front of a Cambodian monk, and they said in Khmer, "My child is gay (katheoy) and it's shameful." This monk said to my parents, "Gay (katheoy) people are people, nonetheless."
As a way to tell them to not treat me with such contempt.
When I was a bit older, my friends invited me to a Christian sermon as a chance or a way to prove that Christianity was going to liberate me and help me quell my identity crisis.
I had already studied and read the Holy Bible front and back.
However, after disclosing that I was bisexual to the preacher, he judged me, called me a sinner, and the preacher banned me from entering their place of worship.
He felt that because I was LGBTQ and that I kept asking him questions against the religion which was seen as blasphemous. Christianity and Catholism were the two disappointing religions that I had stayed away from ever since. It taught me nothing.
As an adult, I was never rejected by Buddhism. As a matter of fact, I was raised Buddhist but I never really paid attention to what Buddhism or its teachings had to offer. One of the first LGBTQ films that I have ever watched was not "Boys Don't Cry" but instead, it was, "Beautiful Boxer", a true story and event about a transgender woman named Parinya.
Of all the LGBTQ films out there in existence, "Beautiful Boxer" was the film that I related to the most, it was so close to the Khmer culture. I laughed and cried with this movie. What saddens me a bit is that I share this film to others here in the United States but most people are reluctant to watch it because it is a Thai original language film and most people are too lazy, rather ignorant, to read the subtitles.
They are missing out on the entire picture that makes up what it is like to be transgender growing up in the Khmer and Thai culture. It's a total human experience all on its own. Parinya had it a bit easier than me growing up. She didn't have to deal with abuse as much but more of the pain living in dysphoria. Each of our stories is different but that suffering is all the same. I own this movie in its original title and language. I understand Thai so it's good enough for me.
So that inspired me to study Buddhism and eventually religions across the world. I found spiritualism, or Agnostism, to be one that I can identify and relate to much more than any other.
This is Kodo Nishimura and his story is very rare so I wish to share it on My Trans Life Blog post. However, we do have one out of almost two things in common, that we are a member of the LGBTQ, he is cisgender gay whereas I am transgender bi-sexual, and that we both pupils of Buddhism and students of cosmetology, we do makeup and are professional MUAs.
Click on the image below to watch his full documentary!
Kaneda Yoshida (male pronouns: he/him/his) is a transgender (FTM) who blogs about his life's journey and experience as a transgender (FTM).