“This year, I turned 44. I was in class 8 when I first realized that I was a woman trapped in a man’s body. At the time it didn’t make much sense and life didn’t get any easier thereafter. By the time I reached class 10 at MHSS, I often felt like wearing Kira to school but never went through with it. Even if I had tried, it might not have been allowed as people that time were not as open minded. Just before my board exams, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and she passed away. In order to help support my family, I left school and joined the wood craft center (WWC) in Langjophakha. I was in their 9th batch and I learned to make furniture for 3 months in the center before landing with a small job.

2 years later, my father passed away as well. The whole family’s responsibility fell on my shoulders and I left the job then I had to work as a dishwasher at a hotel in Thimphu because it paid better. The madam there paid me Nu. 7000/- a month because she said I was educated. I worked many jobs thereafter, and my siblings grew up and moved out of the house. My youngest sister often fell ill and needed a number of surgeries over the years. She stayed with me in our family house and I took care of her. She got married and had kids later, but unfortunately she and her husband are now divorced.

Inorder to support her son’s education, I had to work hard. I became a street vendor selling thukpa (porridge) late at night in the city. Many people came to know me from there. I always put on a happy and cheerful face before my customers. I think it’s important to be kind to strangers because we never know what they are going through in their lives. Some are kind and talk to you nicely, others will realize what I am, and laugh at my face.

Some would be mean and tell me that they won’t buy my thukpa, because it’s believed that trans-people are cursed and anything eaten from their hands will send you to hell. Some people judged me for who I am and how I look. But there were others who were kind and helpful to me. I also suffered from alcoholism and there were people who judged me for that too. Luckily, I am much better now. Selling thukpa was my last job and it’s not allowed anymore by the city municipality. I don’t have any job and income now and it has been like that for a while, I did try to find work but couldn’t. It has been hard at home. Few days ago, I asked for work at an ongoing road and wall construction near the Supreme Court. They were kind but said they don’t employ women.

I think I may be the eldest openly transgender woman in Bhutan. I do see alot of young people who may or may not be a transgender person. If you are one, my advice to you is, just be yourself. Life may not be easy for people like us but doing what you want in life is worth a shot. It might be confusing and depressing at times, but never resort to harming yourself or drinking excessively to deal with your problems. After a while, things do get clear and people who accept you will stay while others won’t matter.”

📸 Denkars Getaway

Partnership with  QUEER Voices of Bhutan.

November 20th is celebrated as The Transgender Day of remembrance. Humans of Thimphu is collaborating with Queer Voices of Bhutan to bring stories of strong voices from the transgender community and remember those in the world who have lost their lives due to the hatred and violence against them.

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