Do you know what it is like to be an intersex person in Anatolia, in a
village in Turkey? I know that pain, I know what it is like to be the kid
who got called names or heard a motherâ€™s sigh when she was asked about itâ€¦
Listen to it from someone like me who once could not speak Turkish at all.
I guess I was 5 or 6 years old, I remember some women from our village and
my mother forcing me to lie down and touching me between my legs while I
was crying and screaming, making comments like they were doctors. They were
consoling my mother by saying: â€œLook, it is right there. It will open with
the grace of Godâ€™â€™ and my mother would agree with them with gratitude and
say, â€œAmen, please God.â€™â€™
For the first time I sensed that a part of me was bad. A connection between
my mind and that area had started. I stayed away from the adults and was
scared of them for days. It was the spring of 1978.
Because I was physically stronger, I used to win all the games. My friends
who could not stand this used to call me names. Kurdish nicknames one after
another, nicknames that implied that I was both a boy and a girl, and words
that described my genitals. I felt like I was going crazy. I used to leave
that cacophony, run home and tell my mother about it. My mother used to
curse them and console me by saying â€œYou are better than themâ€™â€™ and she
usually fought them.
When I was old enough to go to school, I learned what it means to be
excluded. I learned to keep people at a distance and that was when I
started to have conversations with myself. The new school year was about to
begin, all of my peersâ€™ school supplies were ready and they were showing
them to me. I ran home from the square. My father, mother and brother were
at home. I was panting heavily and I asked them when they were going to buy
my school supplies. There was a silence for a while and then I barely heard
my mother saying â€œLetâ€™s let her go.â€ My father angrily told my mother,
without even looking at me, â€œStop growling. Children from three different
villages will go to the same school, the child will come home with a new
problem every single day, other children will not give them a rest. They
will be harassed; should we be disgraced even more?â€ I remember my mother
saying in response, â€œThey should take a look at themselves. There is
nothing wrong with my child.â€ My brother supported my father and defended
the idea that I should not be sent to school. He looked at me with disgust
and grumbled, â€œGet out! School is not allowed!â€ He pushed me, then slapped
me so hard that I fell down. He had a say in it, after all his wedding was
only a week later. He also warned me strictly, â€œWhile the teachers are
passing through the village do not let them see you, hide. Or else I will
trash you.â€ I had to say, â€OK brother.â€ It was not only that. There were
trucks that carried workers to the factory. I used to hide when I saw them
as well because the truckers also used to call me with my famous nicknames.
Every morning and every evening, those were the times that I used to die.
I did not give up, because I was smarter and stronger than all of them. My
mother used to give me my food and I used to go to the pasture to graze our
animals. There, I organized my peers. Everyday one of them was going to
teach me whatever they learned at school. Behiye, Åževket, SatÄ±, Fatmaâ€¦
First, all the letters, then the numbers and then I learned how to read.
But this did not last long; all of them complained to their families about
me. The parents turned up at our door and my mother struggled with the
I was the disgrace, the black sheep of the family in every way. But when
the topic was money, they were not ashamed at all, especially my brother.
He took me to the brick factory with him when I was 10. There, the warnings
continued, â€œDo not talk to anyone. If someone says something tell us and do
not beat anyone up.â€ Because I was tall and strong, they used to give me
all kinds of tasks and I completed them all with success. People were not
picking on me that much when I was working. I earned everyoneâ€™s respect
because I was practical. We bought a TV and so I learned to speak Turkish
very well. The personnel bus used to stop at the city center for three or
four minutes and I used to get off to buy newspapers such as GÃ¼neÅŸ,
Cumhuriyet, Bulvar, whichever I could find. Some people on the bus would
laugh at that and some would admire me. All of them knew that I had not
gone to school, but the ones who went could not read as well as I did. When
my dear brotherâ€™s control became less effective, he made more aggressive
decisions. He forbade me to buy newspapers. It was no big deal, I bought
books. I kept reading everything I found.
This is what I experienced in the village until the age of 12. I hope I
will also share the other phases of my life.
Source: intersexualshalala. com
Translation: LGBTI News Turkey
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