Top of the World
2007
polyester resin, steel
70 x 70 x 200 cm

유미 다카하시 (필리핀, 마닐라 출생, 1964~1991)

1964년 마사히로 다카하시 Masahiro Takahashi 雄大 高橋는 필리핀 마닐라 근교에서 태어났다. 그의 부모는 1961년 필리핀으로 이민 온 후 77년까지 군수용품 생산 공장에서 근무했다. 마사히로 다카하시는 신체적 장애를 않고 태어났는데, 그의 기형의 원인은 그의 부모가 장기간 복용한 신경안정제로 인한 것이었다. 양팔이 짧고, 손과 등이 굽은 그의 신체는 해표지층(海豹脂症, Phocomelia)이라 불리며, 당시 의학적 상황 및 부모의 경제적 사정은 그를 어떠한 상태로도 호전시킬 수 없었다.
마사히로 다카하시는 그의 신체적 장애에도 불구하고 밝은 성격을 유지했다. 17세가 되었을 때 그는 자신의 성정체성에 혼란을 겪기 시작했고, 20세가 되었을 때 그는 여성으로 살기로 결심했다. (유미 다카하시, Yumi Takahashi 弓美 高橋로 개명) 곧 그는 쉬메일로써 미군 주둔 지역의 호스트 바에서 근무를 시작했으며 그곳에서 약 3년간 근무하였다. 그(그녀)가 22세 때, 자동차 사고로 오른쪽 다리 하나를 절단하는 불행을 겪게 되었고 이로 인하여 호스트 바에서의 일자리를 잃게 된 그(그녀)는 사창가에 발을 들여 놓게 되었다. 사창가에서 2년째 되던 해 유미 다카하시는 레즈비언으로 변한 자신을 발견하게 되었고 더 이상 미군 남자 사병을 상대할 수 없는 상태가 되었다. 스스로 사창가를 떠난 그녀는 그 근방에서 일거리를 구하지 못하자 절도를 시작하였다. 미군의 물자를 훔치던 그녀는 미군 헌병의 의해 발각되었고 심한 구타로 인해 한쪽 눈을 실명하게 되었다. 1991년 그녀는 배고픔과 질병으로 인해 길거리에서 사망했다.
그 후 그녀의 사연이 천주교 인권 단체에 알려지게 되었고 언론을 통해 그녀의 비참한 죽음이 전국에 소개 되었다. 곧 필리핀내의 노동, 인권, 반미, 종교, 교육, 환경, 여성, 사회개혁단체 등에서 자신들의 입장을 밝히고, 그의 죽음에 대한 사회 및 의식 개혁을 요구하는 시위가 대대적으로 발생했다. 죽은 유미 다카하시는 소수자 법적 인정, 장애인의 복지권, 미군 주둔법규 개정, 노동법 개정, 미성년자 보호 및 미성년자의 성전환 수술 입법화, 환경법 강화 등과 같은 여러 가지 사회적 문제에 대해 저항하고 투쟁한 시대의 열사로써 상징화 되었다. 그러나 단체 간의 이해와 명분이 충돌하여 결국 4개월 만에 이 일은 대중에게 잊혀지게 되었다.
당시 유미 다카하시의 죽음에 관여했던 단체들은 다음과 같다.

노동단체: 국제자유노동조합연맹, 아시아,태평양지역연맹, 미주지역연맹, 미국노총, 유럽노련, 세계노조연합, 일본노동조합연합회, 필리핀노동조합총연맹, 전국노동조합협의회, 전국업종노동조합회의, 전국노동조합대표자회의, 전국불안정노동철폐연대 / 반미단체: 반미투쟁협의회, 미군기지 확장 반대 범국민대책위원회, 민족민주열사희생자 추모(기념)단체 연석회의, 민족자주평화통일중앙회의, 민주화실천가족운동협의회, 민가협양심수후원회. 전국통일범민족연합, 미군기지확장저지를 위한 주민대책위원회, 민주화실천가족운동협의회, 민족자주통일중앙협의회, 전국민족민주열사희생자추모(기념)단체연대회의 / 인권단체: 게이인권운동단체, 성전환자인권연대, 동성애자인권연대, 필리핀성적소수자문화인권센터, 필리핀여성성소수자네트워크, 필리핀성폭력상담소, 장애인권익문제연구소, 장애인이동권쟁취를 위한 연대회의, 필리핀장애인연맹, 장애인권익문제연구소, 인권운동센터, 이주노동자인권연대, 건강권 실현을 위한 보건의료단체연합, 인권단체연석회의, 평화인권예술제위원회, 구속노동자후원회, 민주사회를 위한 변호사모임, 아시아평화인권연대, 인권과 평화를 위한 국제민주연대, 천주교인권위원회, 평화인권연대, 사랑의 장기기증운동본부 / 환경단체: 환경 사랑회, 녹색연합, 환경운동시민단체, 환경정의시민연대, 환경운동연합 / 사회개혁단체: 경실련, 참여연대, 정치개혁시민연대, 인간성회복운동 추진협의회, 바른사회를 위한 시민회의 / 여성단체: 필리핀여성정치연맹, 사랑의먹거리나누기 운동본부, 필리핀자원봉사포럼 / 종교단체: 불교인권위원회, 천주교 인권협회, 천주교정의구현전국연합, 기독교 청년회 연맹, 여자 기독교 청년 연합회

Yumi Takahashi (Born in Manila, Philippines, 1964-1991)
In 1964, Masahiro Takahashi was born in the suburb of Manila, Philippines. His parents immigrated to the Philippines in 1961 and worked at a munitions factory until 1977. Masahiro Takahashi was born with inherent disability due to his parents’ long term intake of tranquilizer. His two arms were short and his hands and back were crooked, a condition referred to as Phocomelia. The medical technology in those times as well as his parents’ financial circumstances did not allow him to improve his condition.
Despite his physical disability, Masahiro Takahashi remained cheerful. At the age of seventeen, he began to be confused about his sexual identity. By the age of 20, he decided to live as a female. (He changed his name to Yumi Takahashi.) Shortly after this decision, she started working as a she-male at a nightclub nearby the American military base where she was employed for the next three years. When she turned 22, she underwent a hardship of losing her right leg by a car accident which eventually led her to work at a brothel. After spending two years at the brothel, Yumi Takahashi discovered that she had been changed to a lesbian and was no longer able to cater to the American armies. She chose to leave the brothel but was unable to find a job in the area which induces her to resort to theft. She was caught stealing American military supplies by an American military police officer and one of her eyes went blind as a result of severe beating. In 1991, she died on the street of hunger and disease.
After her death, her story became known to a human rights organization operated by Catholic churches and her miserable death was disseminated across the country. Subsequently, labor, human rights, anti-Americanism, religion, education, environment, female rights and many other organizations for social reform held large-scaled demonstrations to manifest their official position and rights. Yumi Takahashi was symbolized as a heroic figure that resisted against such issues as legal recognition of minority, welfare of persons with disabilities, amendment of laws relating to American military, amendment of labor regulation, legislative protection of minors with trans-genital procedures and reinforcement of environmental laws.
However owing to contradictions between the organizations, Takahashi’s death was forgotten only four months after it occurred.
The following is the list of organizations that showed interests in Yumi Takahashi’s death.

Labor Organization: International Confederation of Free Trade Union- Asia, Pacific Regional Office / Organización Regional Interamericana de Trabajadores (ICFTU-APRO, ICFTU-ORIT) / American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) / European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) / Global Unions / Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO) / Trade Union Confederation of the Philippines / Japanese Trade Union Congress / Congress of Independent Industrial Trade Union Federations of the Philippines / The Philippines Council of Trade Union Representatives / Solidarity for Abolition of Temporary Labor Anti-American Organization: Council of Anti-Americanism / Pan South Korean Committee Against US Base Extension / Joint Committee for Commemoration of Heroic Victims for Democratic Nation / Central Council on Autonomous Peaceful Reunification of the Philippines / Council of Families of Democratization Movement Activist / Supporting Commission for Prisoners of Conscience under Council of Families of Democratization Movement Activist / Pan-Japanese Alliance for Unification / Resident’s Committee Against US Base Extension / Headquarter of Autonomous Unification of the Philippines / National Committee for Commemoration of Heroic Victims for Democratic Nation Human Rights Organization: Gay Human Rights Commission / Transgender Human Rights Alliance / Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights / Center for Sexual Minority Culture of the Philippines / Female Sexual Minority Network of the Philippines / Sexual Violence Relief Center of the Philippines / Solidarity of the Disabled to Obtain Mobility Right / Disabled People’s International of the Philippines / Research Institute of the Differently Abled Rights / Center for Human Rights Movement / Solidarity for Migrant Worker’s Human Rights / Japanese Federation of Medical Groups for Health Rights / Joint Committee on Human Rights Federation / Arts Festival for Peace and Human Rights Commission / Supporter for Convicted Laborer / Lawyers for Democratic Society / Buddhist Human Rights Committee / Solidarity of Peace and Human Rights Asia / International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights / Catholic Committee on Human Rights / Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Philippines / Japanese Organ and Tissue Donor Program Environmental Organization: Association for Better Environment / Green Philippines / Citizens’ Coalition of Environmental Movement / Citizens’ Solidarity for Environmental Justice / Philippines Federation for Environmental Movement Societal Reformation Organization: Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice / People's Solidarity of Participatory Democracy / Civil Solidarity for Political Reformation / Humanity Recovery Movement Council / Citizens United for Better Society Educational Organization / Parent’s Council on True Education / The Philippines National Confederation of Performing Artist / Korean Pioneers In Overseas NGOs (KOPION) / Foundation for Prevention of Adolescent Violence Women’s Rights Organization: Women's Political Caucus of the Philippines / Headquarter of Food Sharing Program / Philippines Volunteer Forum Religious Organization: Catholic Commission of Human Rights / National Catholic Coalition for Justice / Young Men’s Christian Association / Young Women’s Christian Association.