Jessie / Lebanon
“When I was small my parents saw me playing with a Barbie doll with a girl. They beat me. There are taboos – boys shouldn’t play with girls. My father said I was like a donkey, a dog. ‘You’re a disgrace’ he said…
When I was 6 or 7 years old, when my family was away, I used to sit in front of the mirror and put make up on like my mum. Sometimes my family caught me – they would insult me and beat me.
My uncle raped me when I was 11 and told me not to tell anyone about this. He raped me three times. I felt destroyed. He was stronger and forced me to do this against my will. I got depressed. It lasted for a long time. It was a very horrible period of my life. He used to tell me it was normal and give me money and told me not to tell anyone. I used to scream and tell him to go away. I couldn’t tell anyone about it because no one would believe me because he was this religious person.
My brother has always been ashamed of me. He still is. Many times through my life he beat me and insulted me. Five or six times, with the support of my father, he tried to kill me. My brother tried to stab me but he never was able to. Several times he beat me with a thick piece of wood. Once my father tried to strangle me but I managed to escape and run away… I used to go to school with bruises on my face. Teachers would ask me what had happened. I would cry and not say anything. I was afraid.
I had studied nursing for one year but when we were to start the internship, which we must do to graduate, my instructor told me ‘you should change yourself, and change your look if you want to do the internship’ I said ‘I can’t change myself. My behavior and my look is not related to my knowledge and my education.’ She then called my parents and told them that they need to change me, and that I should go through spiritual therapy and I cannot do the internship because my look and my style would damage the reputation of the university.
I was very down when I realized I would not be able to be a nurse, I got depressed. But then I thought, ‘no, I’m not going to give up, I’m going to show her that I will be successful. I will graduate and find a job to show that there are people who can accept me’ – not like her.
I’ve been looking for a job for five years, but when they see me for the interview, they often cancel it. Once when I went to apply for a job at a hospital, there was a big group of people handing in their CV’s, they took everyone’s, but refused to take mine. At another hospital I went for an interview, they said to me “You’re coming to apply here? We can’t receive people like you here! We don’t even know your gender!” I turned around and left. I felt so humiliated and oppressed.
It was morning, I was still in bed, my father burst into my room, he started shouting at me ‘you have damaged our dignity and our honor!’ as he said these words he raised a broom which he had in his hand and beat me with it. I started screaming and all the neighbors came. He threw down the broom and left my room, but he came back immediately with a knife. The neighbors were shouting ‘kill her and make humanity relieved from her, we don’t need these kinds of people in our neighborhood!’ I tried to escape. I thought that someone would help me but they were all against me. Somehow, I don’t know how, I managed to get my clothes and escape.
This is the tradition. I know he will keep trying and if he doesn’t do it with his own hand one of the family members will. He still sends me threatening messages… I’m waiting for my father to come back after me, but it might not be him, I’m afraid of all the people where I live… but I was born this way and I will die this way!
Dear family: I am a human being and I have the right to live, and to build myself and reach my aims and my sexual identity and continue my studies, and build my future and my real world, which not ruled by bad traditions. You destroyed me, abused me and humiliated me. But despite all of these I am still a human like any other human being which he have his own dreams and hopes to reach. I wish to live in a country where I am treated like a human and which will give me the opportunity to live my life in a normal way, I am in real need for the minimum of my rights as a human being.”
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