Neten Wangchuk

“It struck me quite early that though my body is biologically male, my heart and mind were that of a girl; since then, it’s been a tedious journey of self-discovery. Society judged me long before I could accept myself. They wanted me to act ‘right’ and be a man. Eventually, I came to understand that people criticized both the good and bad, so it was no use paying attention to those comments.

I used to dress up and do ramp walks for my grandmother. At a concert, I even wore my grandmother’s best Kira which her mother had woven for her. That was an emotional moment for me. When the first transgender came out to the public on television, my family mocked her; I knew then that I too would be met with a similar reaction If ever I came out. But later on, they accepted me.

The state of one’s heart cannot be altered, they said. With my sister’s guidance, I had a fairly easy life of accepting myself further in school. The first time I ever heard the term “chaka” being directed to me was the time I realized what it meant. The term in itself isn’t derogatory, but the way it’s emphasized and attached with something different and undesirable made it so. I came out publicly on social media and there were always offensive comments but I’d simply ignore them. I participated in a modelling photo contest once, where I wore a bedsheet styled in a fashionable way. This got me called to the principal’s office for questioning.

In class 9, I travelled to Thimphu to attend an LGBTQ meeting so that I could learn more about people like me. In school, my friend and I put on makeup before the study hours; finding someone you could relate to was a huge relief. After class 12, I helped with farm work at home and babysitting before coming to Thimphu with hopes of a better life.

I’m planning to go to the middle east to work and probably to Australia after that. Apart from working to support me and my family, I always dreamed of modelling. So far, I chose to believe in myself and ignore the ones that don’t. Self-love and optimism should be the core values in life.”

In this pride month, Humans of Thimphu with YPEER Asia Pacific Center -Ypeer AP brings to you stories of dreams and aspirations from the LGBTQIA community.

#HumansofThimphu #Humans #Thimphu #HumanStories #PrideMonth

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