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Friday, 21 April 2017

Young and trans in Pakistan: A trans man’s coming out story

Sumair is a trans man from Pakistan and an enthusiastic UI/UX Freelance designer. He intends to present and spotlight cultural and economic human rights issues that are currently affecting Pakistani society, especially sexual minorities, through his writings. 

Being transgender isn’t a choice, transitioning is. Nothing forces people to transition, but being transgender is not dependent on transitioning. A transgender person is still trans, before they even starting the transition. And a person who never medically transitions for whatever reason, doesn’t stop being transgender either. They were born as a different sex, than what their “gender” identifies them as.

I was born transsexual, and I think that’s the way I was supposed to be born. I don’t think that transsexualism is a “curse” or anything to hate or be afraid of. We’re real people, who contribute a voice to the symphony of human life that comes from nowhere else; that, indeed, can’t come from anywhere else. We’re a legitimate part of the mix. We contribute to the diversity that makes life beautiful and worth-living for everyone.

I WAS CONVINCED THAT I WAS A BOY THAT UNFORTUNATELY JUST LOOKED LIKE A GIRL.

I don’t hate being transsexual, and NO I’m not afraid of it. I have NO desire to “wish it away”. I was born as a child of a Pukhtoon (Pathan) man and a beautiful mother, both of whom obviously had preconceived notions of what being a ‘daughter’ meant to them. I grew up having to wear feminine clothing, and it truly made me miserable. When it came to getting dressed, I used to throw tantrums, play sick and refused to go places.

I didn’t understand why I was so angry all the time. I just knew I would prefer to wear some pants and a t-shirt to ‘dress up’. I hated dresses and well, anything that was “girly”. I preferred tool sets to Barbie Dolls and always wanted toys designed for “boys”. I started to dress a little more girly when I got into high school, mainly as an attempt to please my mother. After all, I was born and raised in an Islamic family, where you have to think more about the society than your own desires.

I felt attracted to girls at an early age, but was not able to completely identify with the lesbian label. I had my first crush at 14, but I never felt comfortable being labeled as a ‘lesbian’. I always felt like I was never truly being myself. As time passed, I started to feel more and more convinced that, maybe I’m not a lesbian. Not that I don’t love girls – I LOVE girls and part of this was my awkwardness towards the female gender.

WHEN I CAN’T COPE WITH THE DYSPHORIA, I PRETEND I’M A EUNUCH INSTEAD OF A WOMAN.

I was a boy, without a doubt in my mind. Being born of the female gender meant nothing to me. I was convinced that I was a boy that unfortunately just looked like a girl. I went through life with this thought pattern until last year. This is when I made an unchangeable decision and decided to become a trans man. I cannot say I had feelings like everyone else. To me, it was just a mathematical equation: this is what the male gender does, this is what I want to do, hence I must be of the male gender. Of course, this is a terrible thing to believe, if you are born in a strong ethnic and Muslim background!

I always had fears while living in an Islamic society and Muslim family. I never dared to explore myself, due to those fears. I also believed that LGBTIQ are against nature, due to indoctrination which provides no room or space whatsoever for LGBTIQ issues. I didn’t have the courage to find the answers to the questions that were constantly being raised in my mind. I died everyday during that phase of realising my gender identity. I also faced criticism and objections to talking about my gender identity and lifestyle. In addition to me, my family also had to respond to such questions.

I KNOW THAT THIS ISN’T AN EASY JOURNEY, BUT IT’S ALSO NOT AN IMPOSSIBLE ONE.

My life between the ages of 14 and 18 were the most difficult ones. I almost started hating myself and my life, which seemed without any solid purpose. My life came to a halt without any ray of hope. I suffered from high levels of depression and anxiety. I also faced suicidal thoughts. Many friends left me during those days, and those who were with me also seemed rather uncomfortable. My student life passed as a victim of my gender role. Studying about sexual minority rights increased my frustration. It appeared to me that being a lesbian/gay was easier, as compared to being a transsexual.

Why? Because they didn’t have to struggle with themselves on a daily basis. My life became more difficult, and I made numerous suicide attempts, which were luckily unsuccessful. However, the attempts at committing suicide made me realize the importance of life. After passing this miserable phase, I gathered the strength and courage to never face that scenario again, because it was a never ending nightmare which killed me every day. My struggle has not ended, but only commenced. And I know that this isn’t an easy journey, but it’s also not an impossible one. I won’t let people bring me down!

BEING TRANSGENDER ISN’T ABNORMAL. IT’S PART OF WHO YOU ARE, WHO I AM.

This is why I’ve started questioning a lot of things. Who am I? Was I supposed to be a boy? What went wrong? How did I get this far without realizing something was not right? How can I fix it? Will people think I’m a freak? What am I supposed to do now? In all of my questioning, I did what any other curious young adult would do. I searched the internet. I looked for anything to help me make some sort of sense of how I felt. I actually found a lot of things that really helped me out. I found out that I’m not alone. There are millions of us. I found that being transgender isn’t abnormal. It’s part of who you are, who I am. So, in conclusion, I’ve made the decision to live my life the way I am and not be discriminated for it. This is really what I want. I am taking a stand. For myself, and in support for the LGBTIQ community!

(Source: Feminism in India)

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