Hormone replacement therapy and gender reassignment surgery are not legal in Vietnam. Many trans people have resorted to buying bootlegged drugs from neighbouring Thailand.
Huynh Nha An, 21, self-prescribes and injects hormones to stop her facial hair growing back. Every month she must decide whether she will spend her minimum wage on hormones or food. She relies on advice from her friends about how much medication she should take and how often.
‘When I don’t use hormones regularly I turn back into a boy, I’m no longer smooth like a girl,’ she told the AFP.
In 2015, Vietnam updated its laws to recognise the true gender of people who had undergone gender reassignment surgery. But the surgery is still banned in the country, so many travel abroad to have it.
For 10 years twins, Truc Lam and Truc Linh have taken multiple morning-after pills everyday in the hope they’ll grow breasts. The right hormones for their transition are easier to come by now. But they hope the law will soon change in Vietnam.
‘We did it secretly and by ourselves,’ Lam said
‘I wanted my transition to be quick, I wanted to be beautiful.’
‘It’s good to have someone who could supervise us in using hormones, it could assure us about our health, but it could cost us more money,’ said Linh.
‘I hope the government can help on this.’