TW: Violence and abuse.

“It was when I came to Thimphu to find work after highschool that I realised I was transgender. The first time I dressed as a woman, I was scared to face the crowd. I covered my face with a scarf and hid behind my friends. But with time, I gained confidence and learned more about myself. I made friends who were like me, trying to find a place in a heteronormative society. Once when I was in Samtse, I met my apa. When he saw me in a kira he was surprised but not mad. The first person I officially told was my ama. She said, “It was only a matter of time that you came out. I don’t have the right to object to your identity.” She was only worried about who’d look after me when I was old. I told her I’d never been so happy and didn’t want anything more from life.. Eventually everyone at home accepted me.

The world, however, was not as kind as my family. I was rejected and mocked when I applied for jobs after revealing my gender identity. I then got into a live-in relationship with a man. After the first 8 months, we started arguing daily. He was possessive, abusive and insulted me for my gender identity. He’d take drugs, making it worse. One day, after a quarrel, I left the house. He followed me to the Clock Tower, grabbed my hair and started hitting me. There were people around but no one helped. I somehow managed to run to the police. He was arrested but I didn’t press any charges and he was released. He kept showing up at my house and called me incessantly. Some days, I’d be scared for my life. After 5 months, he was jailed for a drug case. I didn’t want his life ruined, but was relieved because he’d made sure my life had been hell when he was around.

I’ve worked many jobs now, in clubs and karaoke bars. I also worked in India for a while. Recently, I did some training in baking and tailoring. Hopefully, it will help me get a good job soon. All of us have troubles, but people like me have it a little harder. We try our best to live a normal and happy life. I hope people can start to understand this and accept us, slowly.”

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