ISHAAN

(he/him)

18th June 2018:

Ishaan, a 21-year-old trans man on exchange from Ho Chi Minh, chats with Lee and Ryan in the middle of Parkville (hence the intermittent tram noises!). He shares his experiences of living in Melbourne for the past year, talks about issues facing the trans community in Vietnam, gender-neutral bathrooms, freedom, his love of K-pop, and creative ways of resisting imposed gender roles as a young person.

TRANSCRIPT

R: Thank you so much for coming, welcome to the Call Me By My Name project, a trans oral history podcast. We’re here on the 18th of June with Ishaan. We might just start off – what’s your age and your pronouns?

 

I: Um, I’m 21 years old. And my pronouns is he and his.

 

R: Very broad question, but what kind of things do you like to do?

 

I: In my free time, right? So I like to do some painting, wandering around, music, yeah. That’s all.

 

R: Wow, that’s a lot [laughs]

 

L: Do you have any pets?

 

I: Yeah, I do have. I have 3 dogs at the moment.

 

L: What are their names?

 

I: One of them is Dada, Bebsy, and Debbie.

 

R: Oh my god, that’s so cute –

 

R: Can you tell us a bit more about the music that you’re listening to, or playing, or?

 

I: I want to play, but like I’m not that good. So I just listen to it. I don’t really have a specific type for it, just like what I think is good, is going to be good. That’s all.

 

L: Where did you grow up?

 

I: Yeah, I grew up in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh city, where people call Saigon.

 

R: Can you tell us a bit more about when you came to Melbourne, and what made you come?

 

I: I came here to study. I’ve been here for just 1 year

 

R: Oh wow –

 

I: Yeah, just one year, and I’m about to get back to Vietnam already.

 

R: Oh really, ok

 

I: Yeah cos I’m here for an exchange student program. My program is done, so I’m going to go back.

 

L: Oh wow, when do you go back?

 

I: In August –

 

L: I’m glad we caught you

 

I: [laughs]

 

L: What are you studying, where are you studying?

 

I: I’m studying in RMIT, business management and marketing. So yeah.

 

R: Wow, so did you choose Melbourne because of RMIT’s program, or?

 

I: Yeah, because of RMIT’s program. And also like, people say that Melbourne is a really artistic city, so I love to try.

 

R: After living here for a year, do you agree with – [laughs]

 

I: [laughs] I do, a lot

 

R: So did you have any family or extended family here?

 

I: No, I’m here by my own. Yeah.

 

L: How did you find that, being on your own?

 

I: Yeah, its quite like, maybe lonely. But also its good to be independent and like, I can do whatever I want.

 

L: Only if you want to, but what is your relationship like with your family?

 

I: I’m not really close with my family. To be honest, I’m not actually – I’m not even came out with my family yet. Just my sister.

 

R: Do you live with them back in Ho Chi Minh?

 

I: Yeah

 

R: Can you tell us a bit more about your sister?

 

I: She’s my older sister, like 5 years older. And she’s, she’s kinda like, a little bit like similar with me – like she also loves to be free, and do things like me. But…she’s working in a woman’s, is a lot different from me. I’m glad that she is really supportive.

 

L: Was there at time when you talked to her about your gender?

 

I: Yeah, actually I – first time I come out with her that I’m not as the ‘normal’ type of person, was around like my high school time. I just told her that I’m, I do have feeling for both – for both male and female. And that’s all. And then time by time, she tried to learn about what it is, about LGBT community. And like, around the end of high school, I start to tell her that I want to be a real man. And yeah, she’s really supportive. She even like – I have a plan to have a surgery in Thailand and she helped me a lot. Like I’m saving for that surgery, and I’m planning out when I’m gonna go, and she also try to settle her own schedule to go with me. So that’s really great.

 

R: Wow, that’s really lovely. Do you want to say a little bit more about the process of finding, accessing that kind of healthcare in Thailand?

 

I: I think I’m really really really lucky to be able to afford to go there. Cos like, in Vietnam we cannot have like official gender reassignment surgery. So if people in, trans people in Vietnam, if they want to do some surgery, they will have to do it as just a – like a cosmetic way of surgery. And also, it carries a lot of risk because we don’t have any like – certification for gender reassignment. So I have heard about those surgery in Thailand a lot. Like they say that it’s the paradise for transgender persons like us, and also it’s not too expensive as other countries like Australia or America, right. So like, I just like start to gathering information, as well as money for it, from my high school. Yeah, it’s a long time. And a lot of process.

 

R: Do you mind me asking when this is going to happen?

 

I: I hope its going to be around April or May.

 

R: Wow, cool.

 

L: Good luck.

 

R: Under 12 months now. That’s exciting. Were there lots of other trans people in Vietnam that you could seek sort of advice from, and information from about this?

 

I: In the past, I don’t have any like official or reliable information about trans. But in the past years ago, we had a forum – a really popular form – for lesbians. In that forum they also mention about transgender, like how it is as a trans person, to compare with the lesbian community. Cos like there’s a lot of lesbian or transgender person, but that forum already shut down. So at the moment the organization that I’m a part of, has like the most reliable information source. And we gather new information from other countries, such as like WHO or FRIGA, and other organization from other countries. So like, we kinda be the source for everywhere at the moment.

 

R: Oh, that’s really cool. Do you wanna say what that organization is called, that you’re a part of?

 

I: Yeah, it’s the FTM Vietnam Organizaton. Before I knew about that organization, I just using like Google and YouTube for any information. Yeah, and like its also good because I can interact those information in English. So its really be a privilege for me.

 

R: How long will you have to be in Thailand for?

 

I: The plan is going to be around 7 or 8 days for that whole surgery.

 

L: How do you feel about it?

 

I: Anxious, like a lot. Like I said, I haven’t come out with my parents yet, so like, I would do it, I would do it in secret. So its going to be hard.

 

L: Glad you have your sister.

 

R: I don’t mean to assume anything about your journey, but what about access to like hormones in Vietnam, is that something that is readily available?

 

I: It is really hard for us to get access to T. People mostly just like, just get like overall blood tests to check on their testosterone level. And then they ask for the friends, or other doctors in the community. Then based on, like, the prescription from other guys that can go to Thailand to have the official prescription – and they just like follow those previous guys. Yeah, it’s really hard. It’s really dangerous cos like they even take the shot for themselves without any like injection. We face a lot of short of T, because like sometimes you can get the hormone everywhere, but then a couple of months later, there’s no – it’s just like out of T. And then people have like, switching – like we have like Sustanon or Depo, people just switching when they’re short of T. So its kind of sad for, to be in Vietnam. Yeah.

 

R: Did you seek access to anything while you were living here?

 

I: Um. Not really because it costs a lot more. And also like – for me, to be able to be here and be free as myself, as like – that is fantastic enough. And also, I’m not really ready for hormones yet, cos like, I’m also facing, like suffering with mental health issues. So it might affect my mental health.

 

L: Did you connect with any trans or gender diverse people here in Melbourne?

 

I: Um, no not really. You guys are the first one.

 

L: Any kind of queer services more broadly, or not really at all?

 

I: There’s a queer department in the RMIT university union. So like, I’m not really get in contact with them or anything, I’m just in the facility, like queer room – set facility for us. I like to spend time in those rooms to relax and stuff.

 

R: So you said you like to wander around a lot, but I’m wondering if you’ve found anywhere in Melbourne that is particularly significant or meaningful to you?

 

I: Oh, this is hard [laughs]. I think it’s going to be St. Kilda beach. Yeah, cos that’s also the first place that I go to when I first came to Melbourne. And it was beautiful.

 

R: Do you have, or can you tell us about some of the relationships you have with other trans or gender diverse people in Vietnam?

 

I: Do you mean like relationship, like romantically, or casual relationships?

 

R: Any, either, all? [laughs]

 

I: I think the first person gonna be the father of my organization. Cos like, I met him in a workshop about transgender rights and laws in Vietnam. He was the speaker of that workshop. So like, at that time, we haven’t speak anything, we haven’t spoke, we haven’t really had any interaction. And then later on, I met him one more time at an event called ‘Human Library Vietnam’. It’s like a Vietnamese human library – you know that, right? The Human Library Project?

 

R&L: No, no? Can you explain –

 

I: It’s like a, it’s a library. But the books is not just books, those books are humans. They’re gonna tell stories, or anything of their experience, a specific topic. So like, real interaction between the book and reader.

 

L: Wow, that’s cool

 

I: Yeah. It’s from Denmark I guess? Originally from Denmark. And then people bring it back to Vietnam. So yeah he was a book about transman activists. I read him. He just like, invited me to be a part of the organization.

 

L: How many people are part of the organization?

 

I: At the moment, it’s not that huge. Around 4 core members.

 

L: In Vietnam, is there a crossover between queer community or lesbian, gay, bisexual community, and trans community?

 

I: Yeah, there are a lot. Actually, we’re mostly friends. So we have like – I’m not sure how to say – but we have a lot of interaction and support from other groups or communities. Other organizations toward each other. So we have like, we are friends, a group of friends. So yeah, its good.

 

R: Were there any reasons why you didn’t, or haven’t yet, been involved in more Melbourne communities, trans communities, or – ?

 

I: I think its kind of like, because of my personality. Yeah, I’m kind of, really shy. Actually I did try to find like other organizations in here, about like the community, but I couldn’t find that a lot on the internet. So I’m not really sure why? When I searched for it, its not really easy to get.

 

R: Can you – so I know that you spoke earlier about talking to your sister in high school. I’m wondering if there was, do you remember a time when you started to think about gender? Maybe that was high school, maybe that was earlier?

 

I: Okay, yeah it’s a process. Okay. Actually, when I look back to my whole life, I can see that when I was pre-school, I have always been – at that time, I hadn’t had any idea about what it is to be a guy or to be a girl – but I just know that I want to wear a certain type of clothes, not dresses. Just shorts and t-shirt, and shirt, that’s all. And I like to play what any games that at the moment, are only boys games. Like football, and other things that boys do. But at the time, I had no idea about girls and boys. But I also do remember that I always have like, a dream to be a superman. Or a male singer, at that time I really liked – I want to be him. Yeah, but then when I get to elementary and secondary school, at that time I had to wear dresses as uniform. So I – yeah, shit! [laughs]. So its like 9 years of it. So I have always been like really hate that uniform, and always feel like why those people can wear trousers, when I have to wear dress? But I cannot do anything, because that’s the rules. So around like grade 8 or grade 9, I start to think of like, I want to tell my parents that I don’t want to wear dress anymore. But yeah, I cannot do that [laughs].

 

And also at that time, puberty hit me, so I have feelings for other girls. And yeah, at that time I saw that I was like lesbian. Until I get in high school, so I had more time, and I get more interaction with other people, and also – I go around, I do a lot of social work. So I got more interaction, so when some people…and at that time I already cut my hair. So I realized that when people call me as a male pronouns, I feel like: like so great. It’s like, do I want to be a male? And also, when – that like period of time, I get access to the forum that I told you. And there’s an article, they talk about how it is to be a trans man, and how it is to be just a butch lesbian. Yeah – and then I think, okay, is that me? A little bit. Yeah, and then I just realized: okay, I want to be a man. And I start to use binder, and yeah but its also hurt my body, so I stopped. So like: free the nipple! [laughs]

 

But I do know that I want my body to look like a certain type of body – and also I don’t anyone to call me a ‘she’ or anything. Its not like, a time that I think I want to be a man, but a whole process.

 

R: Process, yeah. That’s definitely the same for me. Like, in hindsight – you’re like, oh! I think maybe that realization I had back when I was a child, meant this, but its impossible to string it all together into one kinda big story, until later. Yeah I totally feel what you’re saying. I was just going to ask if, throughout that process, there was any kind of positive representations of trans people in the media, or anything like that?

 

I: It was around 2009, so like. Okay, I have to say I’m a k-pop fan. So there is a girl group called FX. So there is a member in that called, her name is Amber. And when that group debuted, I accidentally know about them. So I saw Amber in that group, like she’s a tomboy. So at the time, I thought like I want to have that kind of hair, I want to be that cool. And then I start to like dress like her, to change my hairstyle. She was kind of like my representation. But like, I know that she is not queer, she is not transgender. Its just like, she liked to dress as a tomboy, that’s all. She’s really been supportive towards like everyone – also the LGBT community, so I always have like, looked up to her. And also, time by time there’s more people, such as Pink, Ruby Rose. Yeah [laughs].

 

L: I noticed that you have tattoos. What, do you mind talking a little bit about them?

 

I: Yeah sure. Let’s see, um. It’s kind of like a combination. So, the mountain – people say, like, mountain is kind of like challenge in a person’s life – so yeah, this is maybe the challenges I’ve been through and will face. But for me, I’m going to achieve it. And also, when I achieve it, I will just move forward [points to tattoo of an arrow]. And then, but moving forward, we should also have limitation for us, maybe like – doing something, but not too much to harm yourself or to harm others. So this is a kind of limitation.

 

L: That’s awesome.

 

R: How do you see your trans identity in relation to other aspects of your identity that are important to you?

 

I: Let’s see, as a trans person, there’s a lot of difficulty that I, we have to face. Like discrimination and laws. So, because I’m trans, and as my gender expression that not really match with my documents, so there’s a lot of discrimination when I want to do something that I have to show out my ID. It kinda shape my personality to like, be really careful, and also shy. And also like, I think I have been more used to treated a little bit different from others. It also helped me to learn to respect others and respect different views. And I do think this helped me to be stronger.

 

R: I work at a university, so I’m interested in, yeah I guess just like really broadly your experiences with university while here. In terms of, were they positive, do you feel like things could’ve maybe been done better, with regard to gender? Anything like that that you’re happy to share?

 

I: So I’ve been in RMIT. Actually there’s a lot of things I feel great about it. Because RMIT just launched the new restroom, gender neutral restroom. When I saw it, it was just like wow, so great! Yeah but its hard cos like, there’s still a lot of discrimination within the School, but not from the staff, just like from the student. But we cannot change the person, right? But I do feel like they’re doing great to try to respect the students and the people in there.

 

L: The gender-neutral toilet though – at my work, there were just two toilets, like male and female, and I had to take the lift down to the floor every time. It took so long. And they’ve renovated the toilets, and I walked out of my office one day, and there was like male, female toilet – and a gender-neutral toilet in the middle. And I was like – [laughs] It just makes my life so much easier.

 

I: It was just, only a few gender-neutral toilets in my school, but like its good enough.

 

R: Yeah, the gender-neutral toilet in my building is on the ground floor. But its also a building that a lot of people walk through, so I feel like, that’s the first bathroom you see when you walk into that building, so everyone goes. So I’m like running down the stairs, and then there’s like three people in line, and its just like – they should have one on every floor. Its just such a… sometimes I have just like, if I don’t see or hear anyone, I just run into the men’s bathroom and then run back out. But its ridiculous that you have to be scared of that sort of thing.

 

I: When…I can remember when they first launched that type of bathroom. There’s a lot of like discrimination comments on the whole Facebook groups and page of RMIT. Like, it’s just like lots of bad comments. They just – I cannot remember, because I choose to forget it.

 

L: What was your experience, y’know in the last year of being here in Melbourne, of being a trans person in Melbourne? What was that like?

 

I: Pretty cool. Because like, maybe there’s still discrimination, but people just mind their own business. But at the time of the voting, last year when there’s the voting, I remember that I was yelled at in the middle of night. From a lady from a car, they just asked like, ‘did you vote yes? Then come back to your country.’ And stuff. Like wow –

 

R: How do you see yourself in relation to other social movements or other political movements?

 

I: I don’t think that – I’m not really active toward those movements. Maybe I’m just like, trying to giving out, educating others, that’s all. But not really getting involved in those movement. Cos like, I don’t really have like, that deep knowledge of how the laws and groups in the country. And also, its kind of like, a difficulty because my dad works for the government, and my sister works for the government. So I tend to not really want to get involved in a political – cos like, it might affect my family. So yeah. Other than changing and improving the laws in my country, I just try to help the, help the father of my organization. As possible. He’s the one that works in mostly on the rights at the moment.

 

L: What kind of rights is he working on?

 

I: Um, transgender rights.

 

L: Yeah, is there anything in particular, or…?

 

I: The health department in my country has like, putting consideration on it. So we are just trying to give them improvement, and like what our community needs in Vietnam. And what they should be doing, like those people in the government are thinking of maybe changing the [HN?] and the person can only change their documents when they already have done the surgery. Just like that, and like for us, no, its not going to happen. We are a long ways, in couple years, and have not been done yet – but we’re still working on it.

 

R: Are there any, like, specifically trans-friendly clinics and stuff like that in Ho Chi Minh?

 

I: Hm. There are some. There are, but mostly they cannot like be publicly saying that. But from the experience of other transgender persons who have been through – we just like send out a list of clinics that being okay for us. And we just use it.

 

R: Yeah. So after Thailand, will there still be barriers for you to have your gender marker recognized in Vietnam, after surgery? Would you be able to apply to have your gender marker changed?

 

I: Hm, maybe. I think maybe if the law being, been accepted. If approved. Its still on the way. The health department is still considering between like, you have to get the surgery to get the change, or you have to be on T like – after 1 or 2 years. Or you have to do both. So like, we’re still trying to get them, just like, to put it as easiest for us. Cos like, not everyone can afford those.

 

R: Of course, yeah. And people should be allowed to self-identify anyway, regardless of surgery, or hormones, so –

 

I: Actually, there’s also one more thing, because our national ID – the former version of our ID was just name, date of birth, address, and nationality, that’s all. But the newer version, like the current version, also has the gender marker on it. So like, people just freaking out at the moment. Yeah. So in the past, we just considering, we’re just worrying about how we can change our name. Cos in Vietnam, there’s a tradition to have for the female, to have a word ‘Thi’ in their name, as a female. So if you see a name with ‘Thi’ – that’s a female. And for the male, its gonna be ‘Van’, so yeah that’s gonna be a male. So, such as my name, I got that ‘Thi,’ and I hate it. So people are just trying to find a way to change their name. But right now, in the new version of ID, we have to suffer more. Because there’s a female mark on the ID, but we look like this. And then we cannot get a job or anything.

 

L: What kind of work do you want to do in the future?

 

I: Actually I want to work in like social work. Like, at the moment, NGO, maybe that’s really sustainable. Cos I still have to earn money to live. So, maybe like something in marketing, yeah.

 

L: And did you say you’re working at the moment here?

 

I: Oh I’m working from here to Vietnam.

 

R: If you don’t mind me asking, how do your parents then, like – how are they taking the fact that you’re working for this group?

 

I: Oh, they don’t know.

 

R: Oh, they don’t know – okay

 

I: Actually, I do have to join in a lot of meetings. And I’m not really at home much, so I just have like, lied to my mom. But like, my dad, he doesn’t care I guess. But for my mom, I just say that I’m working for a translating company, and that’s all. It is kind of true, because mostly I’m creating content from like, from other foreign sources. And then translate to Vietnamese.

 

L: So its true [laughs]

 

L: Do you ever, do you or your parents, ever bring up stuff around gender, or?

 

I: A lot.

 

L: Yeah, they do?

 

I: A lot. My mom always says, even before I cut my hair, I always like, want to dress up as a classic man. With male shirt, male t-shirt, and like saggy jeans, at the moment, like Justin Bieber [laughs]. And then after I cut my hair, my mom just like freaked out a lot. So she always asks me to wear feminine clothes, like dresses. I remember there’s one time, my mom even forbid me to wear jeans. And asked me like, if you want to go out with those clothes, all my masculine clothes were hidden away from me. And at that time, I just keep on wearing my uniform wherever I go. Even go out, hanging out with friends, cos like, in Vietnam there’s a lot of type of uniform for PT. So like, with trousers and t-shirt, for activities. So like, it’s a little more comfortable than dresses.

 

R: Oh, like physical education?

 

I: Yeah, physical education. So I remember, I just like, couple months I just only wear uniforms when I go out. I don’t really remember why, but after a couple of months I can get access back to my own clothes.

 

L: That’s an incredible story

 

I: [laughs] yeah

 

L: Wow, your staying power. You waited her out.

 

I: Yeah, she cannot take away my uniform. Yeah, but like, my mom still tells me to grow back my hair, and wear feminine clothes. But I’m trying to like, I’m trying to be a better person, beside my appearance. So she have like, okay with it at the moment. Actually I can even, I don’t know why, I can even remember there’s two or three times she accidentally called me ‘son.’ And even said that I’m handsome. And I’m not sure, but maybe she knows something. But I’m not sure. I’m not sure, but she still tells me to dress up as girl. But yeah, I’m just trying to be a better person for her.

 

L: Do you remember when you first cut your hair? Did you cut it all in one go, or?

 

I: Nah

 

L: No, me neither

 

I: No, I cut it like – this way [gestures]. Cos like, before that, I had a whole back length, really beautiful hair. As everybody says [laughs]. But I cut it, just halfway like this.

 

R: Yeah, it’s really kind of sad, but I think very common, that – its true for me as well, that like, your behavior just gets read as stubborn, like you said. Or just gets read as like, why are you being so difficult? As opposed to really, I guess, thinking about why this child is so uncomfortable –

 

L: And is able to push back –

 

R: Yeah –

 

L: Like, for months, and wear a school uniform. That is so loud to me –

 

R: It’s a very clear sign –

 

L: Such a clear sign. Its saying something without your words, but you’re saying something so clearly. I remember as a 4-year-old, my mom bought me these shiny black dress shoes. Patent leather, they were really shiny, they had a buckle, and these like frilly white socks. And I hated them so much, I used to hide them. Just hide them wherever I could, but she always found them and would make me put them on. Now I reflect back, thinking, I don’t want to drag my mom, you know, I love her, but – why would you keep putting them on if the kid hated them so much? I can’t understand it!

 

I: Like actually I can even remember before I cut my hair, before I changed completely my style, I was affected by the trend. I did try to be very feminine, even sexy [laughs] – so like, would like do stuff with my hair, and dress up like skinny, in skinny clothes. Feminine clothes. But not dresses – like, no dress [laughs]. Even feminine, but still no dresses. Yeah, but like its, I feel like I’ve tried, but that’s not mine. So no. And also, there was a time I remember when my mom found out my binder, and like she wanted to cut it up. And at that time, I hadn’t come out with my sister yet, so my sister was on my mom’s side. So she helped my mom to took it away. But I remember when they took it away, I have, like sneaky and took it. And put it in somewhere to hide it, and I remember I put it in my family fridge.

 

R&L: [laughs]

 

I: Like, somewhere that they cannot imagine [laughs] – yeah – but then, eventually, it disappeared.

 

L: I love that. We are so creative [laughs]

 

I: [laughs] yeah

 

R: I don’t know if you wanna talk about this, but what are you going through at the moment, thinking about, or in the lead up to, coming out to your parents?

 

L: Or, will you?

 

R: Yeah

 

I: Maybe, I think. In my mind, I think that if I come out with my parents, its gonna be at the time that I can afford to get a place to live. To feed myself. And even to feed someone else. Like, I’m not, I want to live like an almost, the best life of me. So it should be at the moment that I should be able to like, to feed two persons. So that I can live freely. Like, if I have a girlfriend or boyfriend. So even if I’m kicked out, I already have a plan for it. So at the moment, I just like want to, I just don’t talk about it. But if – maybe if I get caught, or anything, I’m, I still like trying to form relationship with friends, trying to getting networking to, maybe if I’m kicked out, or without my plan, I still have a place to get. Yeah, but its kind of hard, cos like, y’know, my dad can get connection around the nation.

 

L: I was just wondering what the best thing about being trans is?

 

I: I’m not sure. Hm. Maybe like, we can already live as a life of both gender. Cos like, I remember how it was to be seen as a girl, its not that good. But like, I do have that experience, so I believe that I can understand the female, I guess? But also I do, at the moment, I can be seen as a man, so I can somehow understand how it is to be a man, like maybe their difficulty or their privilege? So yeah. I think I can have like more views of everything.

 

L: I really see your point. I often say to Ryan, like, we are on such a unique journey [laughs]

 

I: Yeah [laughs]

 

L: That not many people get to experience. You know, it can be quite difficult and what not, but on the other hand, its something that not many people experience.

 

I: Yeah, its kind of like, even like, if my friend talks about their period, I can talk with them because I know what it is! Its still kind of weird, but I still know what it is. I don’t know, maybe it make me be a better like boyfriend [laughs]

 

L: If you were gonna tell a younger trans person something, or someone earlier on that journey, what kind of advice or information would you wanna give them?

 

I: I think for the younger ones, they’re gonna be, its gonna be: you can wait for it. It’s okay, you can wait for it. Cos like, there’s a lot of people have to, like find themselves when they’re much older. And also, you can wait for it, cos like – how to say – its their life, so, when you can be able to live your life, you can do whatever you want. Such as, when you are not depend on your parents anymore. You can do whatever you want. Just wait for it.

 

And for the older one, cos I know a lot of like, I know about other countries, but in Vietnam – the older generation of transgender people, they’re not really think that they can speak up, or be like, appear to others. I want to tell them that society is changing now, that they can come out. They can like, tell everyone who they are. Yeah.

 

R: If you wanted people listening to hear one thing from you, what would that be?

 

I: Hm. That’s hard. I don’t know, I think just, I am who I am. That’s all. So what I’m doing, that’s my life.

 

R: I guess we’re also hoping that these podcast episodes, y’know, circulate beyond Melbourne. So if there is anything you wanted to add in – not in English – we would also be more than happy to include that?

 

I: I think, yeah I think, there’s kind of like one thing I want to say about. To the Vietnam community. Its about like, educating. Ok I’ll speak it as English first –

 

R: Please do –

 

I: It’s kind of mean like: seek for an official information first. It’s better for your health and for your life. So, Vietnamese now?

 

[Ishaan speaks in Vietnamese]

 

L: Is there anything else you wanted to add? Y’know, yeah, we’re just hoping that lots of people will hear this. I don’t know if there’s anything else you want to talk about, or?

 

R: Yeah, that we didn’t cover, or anything you want to, I don’t know, elaborate on? Or other things that come to you?

 

I: This is…within pride month, at the moment, right?

 

L: Uh, yeah

 

I: We’re in pride month! So just be proud of yourself. Not just in this month. Every month. Every day. Just proud of yourself.

 

–END—