TW: Rape, suicide attempt.
“I was a feminine boy in a boarding school- my roommates wasted no time in teasing me. I was in class 8 and I just wanted to study so I put up with their words. But one night, while I was sleeping, someone held my hands to my back forcefully and raped me. I stayed silent, scared that my dorm-mates would make even more fun of me. I was depressed afterwards, even suicidal. But I told no one. After class 10, I came to Thimphu and met some trans-women. I started to learn more about my identity. Then when I went back home to Lhuentse during a holiday, ama asked me to go to a zomdu in her place. I was confused about how to dress. To this, ama said, “If you can’t wear a kira in our small village, how will you do it in a city like Thimphu?” Ama and num were my biggest supporters.

After my parents got divorced, we moved in with her late mother and stepfather. Agay never treated us well. He’d even beat ama like she was a child. I stood up to him for the first time ever when I returned from Thimphu. The city had really changed me. When I left again, it was hard to part from ama and num. Ama gave me Nu.200 for the journey. It was very little but luckily a friend in Mongar helped me with the bus tickets. In the city, I struggled a lot. As a trans-person, no one wanted to employ me. I had to join a Drayang, but it was hard competing with other girls for attention and tips. And then I lost my job altogether with the pandemic. I felt depressed, got drunk a lot and made many attempts to end my life. When I was saved from these attempts repeatedly, I decided to go back home to ama. It’d been 3 years since I’d last seen her.

We talked for days. She asked me to stay till Losar and I did. I cooked her favourite meal. I hadn’t been this happy in a long time. And then, before I knew what was happening, she fell sick and died. She was only 40. I cried all night. My sister and I had to take care of her final rites. I didn’t have any money. I’d used all my kidu salary on gifts for them when going home. But my friends from the drayang and other transgender friends helped raise money to help me. Without Ama, passing each day at home became a struggle. After the 49th day, I came back to Thimphu. This time, I brought num with me. She’s done with class 12 and is my responsibility. She’s all I have now.”

This Pride Month, Humans of Thimphu with Pride Bhutan: “Celebrating Diversity” dedicate this story to every person on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum for sharing their identity and their stories with the world. Thank you for being you.


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