My name is Voiceless voice. I am a Zambian Transman. I have heard the word crazy thrown at me many times all because i choose to live my truth. While it is a fact that I did not choose to be Trans, given a choice in another life, i would still choose to be my true self in spite of all the hardships i face living in a country that not only denies but strongly condemns my existence.
I turned 31 recently and my journey of social transitioning began in 2011 when I fully understood about gender identity and expression following an eye opening conversation with a friend who was working for a Trans organisation. It was this time when i knew i finally had a name for what i had felt for many years. I became more excited to begin my physical transition. I couldn’t wait any longer and since i was living alone and with no interference from family and with the support of close friends in the LGBTI community i felt more secure, thus In 2012, I began self medicating testosterone because Trans specific healthcare in Zambia is limited to some private Doctors who can assist discretely but this is very costly so the black market is cheaper way to get Testosterone.
It felt so good after all this is what i had wished for all my life. Within months as major physical changes started so did challenges. I came out to my mother and she accepted me. However family , people from my community where on my case they needed answers for the changes. I had to stand for my self and come out as Trans but the more i tried to sensitise them about gender identity issues and what was happening in my case , the more humiliation, stigma and discrimination I faced. The level of ignorance about sexual orientation and gender identity issues is pathetically disturbing even some within the LGBTIQ community have no understanding of the differences between sexual orientation and gender identity. Transition in Zambia is a taboo although people still do it.
To save my energy and for my wellbeing I simply isolated myself from some family members and some friends who treated me badly. I no longer wanted to hear “what do u think God thinks about you”. I was already having my own internal battlefield.
I was happy for doing what I felt made me have peace within me and so i thought it would be best to isolate myself, but the harsh words, the humiliation,physical and mental violation, discrimination and stigma i had encountered just led to depression and more anxiety. This experience really affected me so much now until its hard to trust people and to avoid further violations i live in my own shell. I have become a loner , my social life is almost dead as result i miss out on important LGBTQ events and knowledge i know this is unhealthy for any human being. I have tried dating but that has not been easy. Most of the people i date always want to talk me out of transitioning and this always leads to misunderstandings. I hope to be with someone who can walk with me through this journey.
Unfortunately in 2016 i lost my job which was my only source of income this means i have to struggle to get food pay bills let alone afford testosterone even though it costs about zmk80 (8-10 USD).
Being off Testosterone has stolen a major part of my life and my happiness . I lost all the confidence i had, my emotions are on a roller coaster major way, most times i feel empty, lost , misplaced i wish i could run relocate somewhere safer. I suffered from depression and i turned to alcohol and drugs self harm and hated eating so i lost a lot of weight.
I am a computer technician by profession, a writer and a peer psychosocial counsellor. Getting a job after my transition has been so hard mostly because my physical appearance and the gender marker and names on my identity card do not match.I have tried reaching out to the few LGBT and Trans organisations for support with healthcare or a job but that has not yielded any positive results.
The other thing that makes me sick to the stomach is my chest dysphoria. The breasts remind me of the limits I have accessing recreation places such as gym. In some instances i no longer pass as male, so sometimes people give me rude stares and my breast will be showing since i no longer have a binder i used to have one which i had to throw away because it was in tatters.
Accessing public toilets, is a nightmare, so if i am out i usually keep the urine until my bladder hurts. Not having a stand to pee affects my confidence peeing in Male toilets and using female toilets can stir up trouble for me.
The hate and stigma also affects my family. When i moved back with my mom many people and relatives convinced her that i was cursed and needed prayers some even encouraged her to burn my clothes and replace them with skirts and dresses. My mom has stood by me through it all…
On a more positive note i have been undergoing self rehab and that has been a success. I have also realised i have a purpose in this world. People from church tried to separate me from the love of God. But i love God who healed and helped me. God loves me and knows who i am.
Dear friend, you be may be in the same place i was a few months ago, but i encourage you to keep believing in yourselves no matter how harsh the world may be. You are still gorgeous and awesome. Be yourself and dont let anybody change who you are. You are a miracle child.
Love over every thing.