Jennifer / Mozambique
“I grew up with a stepmother. My mom left us when I was still very little and then I would take my stepmother’s clothes to school. At break time I would take the clothes and imitate the female teachers. And when I imitated the teachers, the teachers would come and take the objects I brought them so that they’d oblige me and they told me that while I was not calling my mother I could not attend class and I could not take my stepmother’s things back. Thus, I had to call the stepmother. And my stepmother was always telling my father and my father would beat me during that time.
He beat me. When he heard of it from people, and he saw the garments I took and my stepmother fetched. He beat me up to see if I would change from being transvestite, in this case. Then, in the same year I failed it and he said I had to take care of myself. And that he was no longer responsible for my attitudes, because I had been failed in class second time. So I was just going to school to play. I had to cut grass in my teacher’s land in exchange for a school vacancy. At the end of each month he would give me 500 meticais. Oh, I was working, yet in the same year I failed school. I could not go to school any more. I gave up and I started working as a hairdresser. The place where I started to work that is where I began to discover more about myself and more often with people who understood my sexual orientation. I started to want to cut eyebrows, paint nails, lock hair. And he (dad) saw me, he got scared and said I had to leave the house.
I left the house when I was fifteen years old. I started renting. From there I met my mom. Not for first time you know. I came closer to my mom, where she had already built a house and she called me to live with her. But as time went by, I also left the house again, my mother’s house just because I was suffering from bias in the area. They called me names, I was not used to it. Because in the neighbourhoods there is something else, in the city it is different. So I was more used to live in the city than in that area. From the area I had to walk long distances to find a bus stop. And it always happened when I was at the bus stop I suffered psychological attacks. From that time, I saw that life was not like that. I could not pay the rents because of life, which was not so beautiful. And I decided to go back to my parents’ house, in this case where I’m living now. And they managed to make me open up. They now understand.
My mother told me that I had to take a test at the time. I did not take it very seriously, but I knew that I got involved with people infected, who I had sex with …those people using no protection. So I decided, I took the courage and I went there to take the test. And after taking the test, the test was positive. And when it was positive, I came back home and I did not tell anybody about it. My mother asked, and I always said ‘ahh I have not done it yet’ but I was already taking medication. So I was ashamed of it all at that time I was going to get more medication then I gave up on medication. I stayed like that some more time. It’s was always that thing into me I always had a doubt, as if I was not well. I need to take medication. I saw it in workshops, on tv, I saw people. I would say to myself ‘well after all, I have not yet died from lack of treatment.’ I then stayed two months like that and I ran to the hospital, I went back there to restart the treatment. And after that, I came back home, but I did not medicate well. When I got my medication for the second time it was not that one good quality and I come back to be hospitalised. I had anaemia, I was put on sick. When I was sick, they found out that the pills I was taking were not working. I had to follow a second prescription. And in the second prescription there is the medication I’m taking now. And from now on, I what to give you a piece of advice to everyone, or to every LGBT community that we all can get sick and the soonest take the test. In fact we’re all sick, we should take the test to prove it to the contrary.”