So lucky but hard to win over potential in-laws: Transgender

Despite her engagement falling through earlier this month, Miss Sarah Schmitzkova, 25, considers herself lucky.

Lucky because she had her family's support when she decided to have gender reassignment surgery in Thailand in 2009.

Miss Schmitzkova was born Muhammad Iz'aan Mohd Sazali, but she took her Russian stepfather's surname when she became a woman.

Now the director of a Muslim undertaker company, the pretty and statuesque lady confesses that she started cross-dressing at the age of 15.

Although she did not contemplate gender reassignment then, she did feel "increasingly abnormal" day by day.

As chance would have it, her grandfather caught her during one of her cross-dressing sessions.

"He told me I cannot be in-between, because I was neither here nor there. He said I should go all the way if I wanted to be a woman.

"He was okay with it as long as I was a good person," she recalls.

Her family supported her as they had seen feminine attributes in her since she was a child.

Miss Schmitzkova says her mother, whom she is closest to, has been with her every step of the way.

"She paid for my breast augmentation and is a strong woman I look up to. She is definitely also my best friend whom I tell everything to," she said.

Her ex-boyfriend and almost-fiance was also accepting, initially. (She makes it a point to tell all about her sex change operation on the first date.)

But after he proposed, Miss Schmitzkova began to notice the change in his attitude towards her, which she suspects was due to pressure from his family and friends.

So she decided to call it off.

"Going ahead with the engagement was just going to be a lie," she says.

She will be counting on her family's support as she searches for love again.

She doesn't think the men in Singapore are going to be the problem - they are getting increasingly open-minded, she says.

It is the acceptance and blessings from the man's family and friends that can be hard to achieve.

"It takes a lot of understanding when it comes to people like us."

Miss Schmitzkova believes that there is much for the public to learn about a transgender woman's way of life, which is shrouded in misconceptions.

"Most people think that transgender women are people who are involved in activities at red-light districts, or are mentally disturbed.

"That is really not the case."

She hopes that society will one day grow to accord transgender people respect.

"Transgender women deserve the right to live life normally. In the eyes of law, we are certified as women.

"The only thing is that we can't bear children," she says.

And yes, she still hopes to find her Prince Charming one day.

Get The New Paper for more stories.