What’s your definition of a woman?
A woman is someone who embraces the best qualities of womanhood. She’s nurturing, generous, humorous, and that’s the type of woman I strive to be everyday.
Do you get upset that many define a woman in terms of the physical traits?
Yes, because gender is not biological sex. Whether you’re a woman or a man, you’re beautiful in different ways. Beauty is what’s inside you. But we’re such a cosmetic society these days that everything is about the way you look.
If people do not classify being a woman as having breasts or a vagina, would you still have undergone the sex operation?
Yes. In order to have meaningful relationships with men, I had to have female genitalia. I have not undergone any external surgery so I don’t have beautiful, bouncy breasts. I don’t believe in breast implants and I can’t windsurf with them anyway. They’ll burst on impact. I haven’t removed my Adam’s apple either.
Tell us about your relationships.
My relationships have always been with foreign men. The only time I had a relationship with a Singaporean male was in National Service. I’m just an ordinary woman. Singaporean men feel ashamed if people ask them whether their girlfriend has undergone a sex change. Some of my boyfriends are perfectly secure in their sexuality. Whatever others say, it doesn’t matter.
Has religion been an obstacle in coming to terms with yourself?
No. I told a nun that I’m a transsexual in England. She said, “Well Leona, congratulations. You’re the first special person I’ve ever met. Share all about your life with me.” That’s how I converted to Catholicism. There’s a difference between religion and spirituality. A father once said, “If these things were so important, Jesus would have talked about them.” Jesus never talked about transsexuals, and I don’t think he’d care. This sounds controversial but it’s true. He only talked about love.