Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Melody the cross dressing hairdresser

I had my first Timorese haircut this evening. It was done by Melody a male to female cross dresser (“paneleiru” in Tetum or “waria” in Bahasa Indonesia) from Malaysia. It appears that most hairdressers based at salons in Dili are cross dressers, transgenders and/or homosexual men (Daniel’s is a gay Indonesian man).

To begin with, the fluorescent light above my chair was not working so Melody removed an igniter from another and spent many minutes standing above me trying to get the light to function so that she could see what she was doing (it was one of those Third World moments that I find surreal).

Melody was dressed in very tight jeans and I noted that she had managed successfully to hide her penis and scrotum. She wore a short tight top that revealed her navel. Her hair was shoulder length, which she wore up on her head. She wore makeup but she had the tell tale stubble of male facial hair on her neck and chin. There was also another older male to female cross dresser sitting in the salon just passing time. A Malaysian woman was also present and I thought perhaps she was related to Melody (maybe her mother?) A balding Malaysian man came in towards the end of my time to have his hair cut by Melody. She charged me $3.

There is apparently a bit of an underground male cross dresser, transgender and homosexual scene in Dili which I am keen to learn more about and hope to write about in due course. Firstly, I have to contact a potential source of information to tell me where to look!

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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