“In a competition, my physique can be embraced. In other contexts, it can be condemned”
By Time Out Hong Kong|
Siufung Law was born female, identifies socially as male and competes in all-women bodybuilding competitions. A self-described ‘genderqueer individual’, he says bodybuilding is a way to achieve his ideal body type without undergoing surgery. Encouraged by his coach, Law, a local Hongkonger, engages in bodybuilding competitively. For his first competition, there was only one obstacle: “I had to wear a bikini,” he reveals.
Despite being born female, Law had never worn a bikini in his life and he remembers dreading going on stage in a swimsuit. “I’d been suppressing my femininity for a long time,” he explains. Eventually, he overcame his nervousness and ended up winning his first competition, in the Philippines, in 2015. “It changed my life a lot,” he recalls. “In that particular context, that competition, my physique could be embraced. In other contexts, it would be condemned.”
Competitions here in Hong Kong tend to focus more on physique and can require greater femininity. So Law has begun exploring how to ‘be more feminine’. “It’s a kind of learning and relearning,” he says. It was through discovering how to be female again, Law realised that one need not be confined to their own body. “[The body] is malleable,” he says. “You can change womanly chest into something that looks more muscular than a lot of guys.” Law says this isn’t about narcissism. There’s a greater good: helping others to achieve their desired body type is especially important for the transgender clientele at the gym where he works. He’s keen to stress that surgery isn’t the only way for someone to achieve the body that they want. “My example provides hope,” he says, “that by using physical workouts, you can achieve the physique you want – without surgery.”
Certainly in Asia, Law stands out for his transparency and advocacy of the concept of ‘genderqueerness’ simply because there aren’t many who do. For a lot of people, the gender binary is a difficult concept to shake but Law is leading the way here in Hong Kong. It isn’t always easy but his success at bodybuilding has provided him with the confidence to continue. “So long as you have positive experiences,” he tells us, “you can always convince yourself that there are people who will really appreciate what you’ve done.” Jayson Albano