Tiet Ho - Boys will be Girls - Tales from Kuching
Exhibition: 14 February to 10 March, 2001
In 'Boys will be Girls - Tales from Kuching', Tiet Ho tells the story of a community of male-to-female transgendered people (mak nyah) who live and work in Kuching, Malaysia. The photographs, taken over 2 months at the end of 1999, feature the day to day reality of their subjects - working, relaxing - with family and at home.
The modern town of Kuching is the capital of the Sarawak state of Malaysia. Malaysia is a strictly Muslim country where, according to Muslim law a person who is dressed up or behaves like the opposite sex can be severely persecuted. Most of the people involved in this project are Muslim Malay who, for religious reasons, do not have sex-reassignment surgery. Although rejected by their religion, they try to be good Muslims in their own way.
Ho's aim in this black and white documentary photography project - and the aim of the mak nyahs, in agreeing to have their stories told - is to promote a better understanding of transgender issues.