Make-up workshops in Tuen Mun seek to bring out transgender beauty

Workshops intended to help transitioning men deal with discrimination

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 August, 2013, 3:56am

The ability of make-up to create dramatic facial changes may be nothing new, but a series of beauty workshops to be held next month in Tuen Mun is aimed at a very specific group: men who want to become women.

The four-part workshops have been organised by transgender rights advocate Mimi Wong, 58, who had a sex-change operation about four years ago.

Wong approached beauty therapist Tina Chau Wan-ling, 53, who runs a beauty parlour in Tuen Mun, to teach the groups.

"I accepted her invitation with no hesitation," Chau said. "Our aim is to help transitioning transgender people. They may experience discrimination and be refused service elsewhere, so hopefully this workshop will offer them what they need."

The first two lessons will cover skin care and how to dress like a woman, with outfits for different occasions.

"The third lesson will extend to other parts of the body, like the hands, which are quite key to building a sense of softness," Chau said.

The final lesson will teach fundamental make-up skills.

Chau said the main challenges were masking men's facial hair, shaping eyebrows so they were thinner and rounder and using powders to create shadows that appear to slim the face.

Wong is also organising counselling workshops for transgender people and hopes to apply for government funding to start a cafe run as a social enterprise for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community. These developments come amid an absence of anti-discrimination laws to protect sexual minorities in the city.

"Among those who have come out, many become jobless and live in poverty," Wong said.

"So the first aim of the enterprise is to offer employment to these people so that they do not need to depend on social security to survive."

The cafe will also act as a community hub, providing other services to the transgender community, such as legal advice and dating services.

Another aim of the cafe is to give the rest of the community opportunities to interact with sexual minorities to make society more tolerant and accepting, Wong said.

Wong added that she has approached the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Hospital Authority to help publicise the social enterprise, and had so far received positive responses.