“I met many female football players who had short hair and a masculine gender expression on a trip to Sri Lanka as a part of the national team. It was only then that I understood that there were others like me. I’d always been more masculine and even got into a few fights when I was younger. Then onwards, I started learning about transgender people and the pre-existing community of people like me. In school, I’d always had difficulties because of my gender expression. The school wanted me to keep my hair long when all I wanted was for it to be short. It felt more natural to me. I also wanted to wear a gho like a boy but it wasn’t allowed. So I wore my kira above my ankle, and that conflicted with the school rules. I was often called to the office for disciplinary issues. I even got into a brief period of substance abuse. I felt misunderstood by those around me. Everyone wanted me to adhere to a gender I didn’t want. My mother and sister are the reason I’ve pulled through. They’d buy me clothes and shoes designed for men. When I came out, my father and brother were opposed to the idea of me turning into a man. But now with more awareness of the LGBTIQ society throughout the country, they too have learned to accept me.

My football career started in 4th grade as a hobby. It soon turned to passion as I played for the Dzongkhag team. For 5 consecutive years after that, I played in the National team and even served as the team captain throughout. The next career milestone for me was to become a coach. There were lots of challenges because of my gender identity but I have been able to fulfill my dream. I am now a coach for a football club in Thimphu. This achievement is something I’m immensely proud of.

If all people like me are given the support we need, I’m sure that we can do so much more. It would be a great milestone for us as a nation if everyone, including those in the remote parts of the country, are properly educated on sexual and gender identities. So that every individual has the right to know and choose who they want to be. To the trans people, I say, embrace your individuality and accept yourself first.”

#HumansofThimphu #HumanStories #PrideMonth

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