How Kindness is Born: A Story of Loneliness and Love

An old friend of HER Fund has come to visit.

Mimi Wong came in wearing a modest, decent dress. Outside it was raining cats and dogs. That she wore high heels in this weather didn't make Mimi look the least bit awkward or uncomfortable, but as elegant and meticulous as ever. As a transwoman, Mimi adheres to her gender identity in every aspect of her life.

She carefully folded and stored her lace umbrella and began discussing the office changes. "The office was pretty big and crowded before you moved in." Mimi is focused, determined, and perceptive. She recalls the times and moments she shared with her co-workers fondly, and she recalls how they met. "Judy is the first person I met here. We met in a workshop...for the next time I saw her is already at HER Fund."

Mimi and HER Fund have been connected for seven years already. Throwback to those times, the Association of World Citizens Hong Kong Chapter (AWCHK) was founded not long. Mimi had to spend a lot of time and effort as the founder in order to get funding, but she was repeatedly rejected and had no choice but to pay huge expenses in advance for the organisation. Every day, she struggled with budgeting. Even when organisations are willing to provide funding, there is lack of communication between the groups. These organisations were unconcerned about AWCHK's needs for development. Mimi could only support the organisation's operations on her own due to a lack of network connections and other resources. She could recall the stressful and bitter days vividly.

AWCHK wanted to make a film about transgender women roughly three to four years ago, but its funding applications were repeatedly denied due to the sensitive nature of the subject. "If I tell them I'm making the film to combat transphobia, they're not going to like it." While some funding does support gender equality, it still denies trans women's female identity. Mimi could only avoid using the term "transgender" in her proposals in order to increase her chances of receiving funding - but where does that leave transgender equality? Mimi's voice is filled with frustration and injustice as she recalls the past.

Mimi eventually found HER Fund while searching for funds that support gender equality. "You guys are a lot friendlier and approachable. I feel less distant and more connected to you, and I can tell you anything." Mimi's long-bearded stress was finally relieved after the financial difficulties were resolved with HER Fund. HER Fund not only provided funds for AWCHK and allowed the plan to begin successfully but is also willing to discuss the progress with Mimi and provide support and advice when they face difficulties. HER Fund only wanted to create the best outcome and allow the general public to see and listen to transgender people's stories and understand their needs. The shared trust and warmth are priceless for both Mimi and HER Fund.

Following the shooting of A Woman is a Woman, HER Fund and AWCHK collaborated to prepare for the film's premiere and a series of activities, such as the trans woman's experiential workshop, to promote the film. "It appeared to be a group of people with the same vision walking together to support one another and complement one another's strengths and weaknesses." Later, AWCHK donated the proceeds from the premiere to HER Fund in order to thank the organisation and support companionship work, which is far more important than financial support. HER Fund and grantee partners are more like comrades in arms; they have their own roles most of the time, but when things get tough, they help each other out, walking together on the road to gender equality.

It has never been easy to keep up the work of a gender minority organisation, but the support and trust of those who have come together have encouraged Mimi to continue her advocacy work. AWCHK is still an active advocate for local transgender rights, offering daily assistance and legal advice to the transgender community. "Even if we can't please everyone, we'll do what we believe is right."

Mimi's voice echoes through the living room, soft but powerful.