I was raised as a female until I came out to my family as transgender when I was a teenager, and although my parents instilled in my siblings and I a strong sense of agency, society instilled in me the belief that my pain was not to be taken seriously. Any outburst of emotion was to be seen as merely hysteria, and if something were to happen to me, the first question should be what did she do to deserve it? This was reinforced by comments such as “That’s the kind of outfit girls get raped in,” made by my grandfather in reference to a high school girl, and questions like “Are you on your period?” or “Have you taken your medication?” whenever I expressed strong emotions.
It was the sweaty ass-crack of late summer when I huff-puff-gasped! my way into the blissfully air conditioned halls of my university on my way to some meeting of personal academic importance, and like many freshmen and veterans alike, I became promptly lost in the Labyrinth-like campus, and not looking to incur the wrathful Minotaur of tardiness, I found myself sidling up to a Student Services Desk to ask for directions.
What a time to be alive, what a time to be a part of the LGBTQI community. Incase you’re wondering why, there is a news channel in Pakistan, that just hired their country’s first transgender TV newsreader and her name is Marvia Malik. After three months of intense training, Marvia (a journalism graduate) , made her debut on Friday, on Kohenoor which is a private broadcaster.
I recently befriended a quirky transgender high school student named Bee. He’s a 17-year-old high schooler from a rural town up north, and just as insane as I am. Bee came across my Facebook profile through mutual friends. After I accepted his friend request, we soon got the ball rolling when we found out we had many mutual interests. For example, like me, he too enjoys binge watching political dramas and documentaries like The Crown and Madam Secretary. He also likes reading One Direction fanfiction. And in his spare time, he dabbles in fanfiction writing.
So went my proclamation. The time was late 2003. I was 19. I had been living in my first apartment for less than half a year. I had dark hair to the middle of my back and spikes on my leather biker jacket. I wanted to play bass in a black metal band. A friend of mine knew the only local band to play in that style at the time, and wouldn’t you know it, they needed a bassist.
As Trans* people, we’ve come a long way, and although 2017 has been rife with devastating setbacks and the ire of hatred stoked against us has been demonstrably crippling, we can’t dispute or progress. Indeed, the past year has sent our spirits spiraling with frustration as we witnessed, with incomparable agony, the attempt to ban Transgender people from joining the military, or the excision of the very word “Transgender” from vital conversations in federal government agencies- and let’s not forget the ongoing bathroom debacle that plagues us, quite unnecessarily, as opponents argue that their wives and children must be protected from Transwomen as though we represent a violent threat by simply existing is Cisgender spaces.
One of my biggest regrets in life is not finding out transgender people existed until my mid-teens. Growing up, I never heard of transgender as a concept. My parents, my school, and the media were all silent. I was told I was a girl and I accepted that I must be. I ignored the constant feeling of disconnect from my body and how much more I identified with boys than girls because I had no ability to consider that I had any options other than to live with what I was told I was.