Surviving gender-based violence as a Transgender woman
I am a 20-year-old transgender woman. I grew up as an only child raised by my grandmother, but lived with many relatives. I did not know who my father was, and my mother moved away. I always knew I was different and enjoyed playing with girls and dolls and dressing up in ladies’ clothing secretly. I was bullied and teased at school, but I had some girls who protected me. I hated my body, wishing I had been born with breasts and no penis. I thought I was gay, but when I turned 17, I realised after watching a video on transgenders that I was actually a girl trapped inside a boy’s body. I could not keep this a secret forever so eventually decided to tell my grandmother. She was horrified, called me a sinner, said I would go to hell. She also told my uncles who said the same thing and they beat me, telling me to act like the boy I was.
One night one of my boy cousins came into my bed and raped me, telling me that he would show what being a girl would feel like. He said he would kill me if I told anyone. I told my Granny who did not believe me and beat me instead. I managed to trace my real mother, thinking she’d accept me for who I was. But she rejected me, telling me she wished she had aborted me.
I decided to leave home, and referred to the Triangle Project. There I received information, counselling, help with working through my trauma, and participation in support groups.
This has all made such a difference, as I realise that many people feel this way and have a right to be who they really are. I’ve been referred to the Trans Clinic, and hope to start hormones.
I feel there is hope and am learning to accept myself as a normal human being, deserving of a decent life.
I want to study to be a social worker so that I can help people in pain, especially those that have been abused. I am extremely grateful to Triangle Project.