Here's What You Need To Know About The Women Of "Transcendent"
The women of AsiaSF, professional cabaret dancers who also happen to be transgender, are the stars of a new Fuse docuseries.
To find out more we let the women answer a few questions on life at AsiaSF, what it's like to represent the trans community, and why people should be watching.
What do you hope audiences take away from Transcendent?
Nya: Transgender people are human beings and we hurt and bleed and love and laugh just like everyone else.
Xristina: A better awareness of what it's like to be trans. We all take different walks in our life, but what is true to the core is that we are all human and we all bleed the same color blood. I want people to learn that Transcendent is not a representation of all transgender people, and I hope non-transgender viewers learn to expand their minds and become more educated and accepting of that fact that we are women.
Bambiana: What I hope the audience takes away from this show is to gain an open mind, and hopefully an open heart as well. The one thing I'd like people to learn is that transgender people are no different than you because once you get to know us, you'll realize how much we actually have in common.
Bionka: I hope that by watching Transcendent people gain a better understanding of the trans community as a whole. I believe that [the show] will bring the level of education about the trans community full circle, with our diverse cast providing different experiences from all backgrounds.
LA: One thing I hope people will take away from the show is that they see that we transgender women are the same as any other person. We are human beings. Also, we go through the same challenges and struggles — if anything we experience more. Bottom line is, I hope every viewer realizes that IT IS ABSOLUTELY OK TO BE YOU! Because at the end of the day, it is our happiness and nobody else's.
What is the hardest part about what you do?
Nya: Dealing with all the sisterly "drama" that sometimes occurs. We all love and respect each other, but we do quarrel as families sometimes do. We always resolve things. I always find myself in the middle of things trying to smooth things out.
Xristina: I have a saying and those who know me have heard me say it: "I embrace the good just as much as I welcome the bad; it's life's reminder that I am still living." In continuing my journey there has been lots of lessons learned as well as beautiful experiences. I cherish every day as it were my last because I have been blessed. I'm living the life I never thought possible. Xristina you are ALIVE!
Bambiana: The most challenging thing I face with what I do at AsiaSF is dealing with the variety of personalities of the ladies. It is DEFINITELY a dysfunctional family.
Bionka: I don't find my job hard at all, in fact I find my job easy. I'm a party hostess, an educator, a person's escape for a good time once they walk through the doors.
LA: Honestly, and I say this all the time: I wake up every day feeling blessed and so thankful with everything that I do. The struggles and challenges are all part of it, and for me, it really is about the experience. This is just the tip of the iceberg in my journey. It's all about keeping a smile on my face and not focusing on the negativity and the things that can keep me from being one step closer to finding happiness. I can honestly say that I've never been happier.
The most rewarding part of what you do?
Nya: Broadening people's perceptions of trans people while entertaining them and putting a smile on their faces.
Xristina: My transitioning started off as me becoming an activist during a devastating incident within our community. The community asked me to speak on behalf of Gwen Araujo and on behalf of everyone else. I was so nervous and scared, but I found my will and courageously I stood. That's when I knew I wasn't alone. Gwen Araujo, a sister I may have never gotten to know, but a soul I feel connected too: I'm close to living our dream.
Bambiana: The most rewarding thing about what I do at AsiaSF is they provide a stage for me to be admired. It feels good to find a place in my world where I'm not being judged.
Bionka: I find when given the opportunity to educate someone on transgender issues is the most rewarding.
LA: Being able to spend time with my family — the ladies of AsiaSF. They have taught me and basically raised me to be the woman I am today. Also, I love being able to take a "new" trans woman under my wing because in this day and age, it is not easy to feel accepted and understood. I would love to be able to influence and guide the next generation into becoming who they are.
One piece of advice you'd give to trans teens struggling with their identity?
Nya: Be true to yourself and don't let anyone discourage you. It may be hard right now, but trust me, years from now you will realize that nobody can take care of you the way you can take care of yourself and all the negativity in your adolescence will just be a distant memory. Find the beauty in yourself; it's there, I promise.
Xristina: The only advice I give is from my own experience: Don't isolate yourself. There are many resources out there that I wish I had during my transition. Get informed, meet other peers like yourself, talk to someone you can trust, and most importantly know you are not alone.
Bambiana: The one piece of advice I'd give is to stay strong! I PROMISE it's going to get better!
Bionka: You are never going to be happy until you can be your true self on the outside.
LA: Don't pay too much attention to what others say about you. Do not let anybody tell you who you are and who you need to be. You are your own person and that's all you need to worry about. I wish everybody had that privilege of just being confident and not conforming to what society thinks is "right." It really all sums down to being themselves and owning it!
And one thing you would tell your former teen self?
Nya: All of the obstacles that you're enduring will make you a stronger person. The life that you can have will be so worth it and you will accomplish things that you never thought could ever be possible.
Xristina: If you could see me now, you'd know how magical and beautiful you truly are. You are a rarity in this world. I am amazed at your resilience: You quickly bounce back up, you always amaze me. I know you're feeling confused and alone through all of this; through all your tears you smile. You are extraordinary! Keep that fire burning as bright as the sun. You are such an optimist, I love that about you. You're always seeing the beauty in others even when they say or do hurtful things to you. You love unconditionally. In this life you will cry, you will laugh, you will love and cry some more, but that's OK. Tears are a sign of strength not weakness.
My advice: Just keep doing what you are doing. That girl you always act out when no one's watching, she stands stronger than ever because through every struggle and all the challenges we endure they help build me. Look at me, I'm now a radiant beauty. Thank you and I love you.
Bambiana It's OK to make mistakes. Don't be too hard on yourself, those mistakes will make you a superhero one day. 😜
Bionka: Hold on girl it only gets better!
LA: Simple: Good job! And also continue to be you! My parents have been so supportive and one of the biggest things I am grateful for is that my parents told me to do whatever makes me happy as long as I'm not stepping on anybody's feet — do it!