The excruciating pain, the deep turmoil and hopelessness I felt as I lay helpless in that cold, dark room, remain vivid in my memories. I remember choking on tears and trying my ultimate best to endure the pain alone and definitely not wanting any of my family to find out what was happening.
It had all started with puberty. I was now living in a nightmare but I had suffered alone in silence and that was enough. On this day I had convinced myself that it was time to put an end to all my misery and take my own life.
It’s hard enough navigating life as a teenager. The puberty phase, the raging hormones and the cocktail of emotions. It even gets worse and frightening when your body develops in a way that feels wrong and you are convinced that you are the only person going through such pain. This explains why I had been too ashamed to share my experiences with anyone.
My name is Chris*. I am a brother, a friend, a man of colour, a son, a pianist, a musician, a basketball fan, and so many other things. I am a 21-year-old transsexual man from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. My story is only a narration of what I experience as a transgender person, I know other persons like me who have to go through worse troubles just to be who they are.
I only became aware of the term Transgender when I was 16 years old. It is hard for me to find the right words to clearly articulate what it is like being Transgender and having gender dysphoria as a teenager in a hostile society. I come from an extremely religious family. Both my parents are pastors. I bet you are imagining how hard it must have been coming out. Indeed, I got the worst reaction. I was told to dismiss those evil thoughts, pray hard to resist the devil who was using me. I was forced to pray several times a day, taken for countless prayer sessions with pastors who claimed the could pray the demon out. These torturous episodes ar still alive in my memories. Just thinking of the horrors I went through at the hands of those pastors brings tears to my eyes. One thing these prayers did not achieve was to change how I felt about my assigned gender. If anything, I became more convinced that I was indeed a Transman and this was not imagined.
Dealing with family and relatives is always the hardest. Family gatherings are painful, that’s why I have mastered the art of suddenly falling sick in order to be excused from attending any family events. This is not because I do not like my relatives or nosy aunties and uncles, It’s the rude questions and remarks that infuriate me. They criticise everything from my dressing to my eating. The derogatory words, the ridiculing just weigh too heavy on me. For my own sanity, I avoid such incidences. It still saddens me that I can no longer spend time with my relatives happily. It worries me that when you are Trans* people fail see you for the human being you are, but rather choose to make yoiu suffer for being different.
I dream of undergoing surgery one day and accessing hormones to help me go through the right puberty and be the man I feel I am. I daydream about this each day. I’m trying all I can to reach my goal and find my happiness. My second dream is to spearhead a strong trans movement in Zimbabwe. This will help us as trans people to unite and we advocate for our rights as a team because we do exist. We are humans and our voices ought to be heard. I want to be able to make a difference for thefuture generations of trans* people, because no one deserves to leave in pain and misery.
I no longer want to experience the pain I felt that night alone, I was given a second chance and I want to assist other trans teens who are in the same place I was. I hope to make a change in my community trans youths should never have to feel isolated, hopeless and helpless.