June Chua is a transgender Singaporean activist, community icon, and founder of The T Project, Singapore’s first housing service for transgender people experiencing homelessness. The T Project is also the only organization in the country providing services to transgender women and transgender people living with HIV in Singapore, even today since its founding in 2014. June began as a sex worker, building up her financial independence, finding a home, and traveling abroad. After 19 years in the industry, her anxiety at the prospect of aging out of her job and finding security eventually drove her to leave. After getting a job at a drop-in center for sex workers, the lack of services for transgender people at LGBTQ+ events drove her to action.
June found purpose in providing shelter and social services for transgender people who’s struggle she fully empathizes with, considering how she herself might have been in need of such services in the past. Her goal is to enrich the lives of those she helps, getting them closer to “living their fairytale life,” as she says. This extends to her philosophy towards running The T Project, which is to focus on the individuals, specifically the safety of the transgender people who need their services.
As someone with years of first hand experience, June knew she could do better for her community. As a pragmatist, she believes in dealing with the immediate issues on the ground, rather than just waiting and petitioning for better policies. Before those policies come to pass, more transgender sex workers will suffer unless organizations such as The T Project are there for them. June has hope for the future and the younger generations, expressing confidence that counseling services and other aid will expand over time in the community. Thanks to her work, not only do other transgender sex workers find their fairytale lives, but June has found hers as well.
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