On March 20th three NGOs held a joint press conference outside of the Judicial Yuan about gender equality education and bullying. One of the speakers shares her story about what it was like to grow up as a genderqueer person. Listen below to hear her story, and read the English translation.
Hi everyone, I’m a graduate student from Soochow University’s Human Rights Program. I identified as queer and belong to a group that is not often being discussed. Many will know me as being transgender, however. When I was much younger, people would often call me ‘sissy’, ‘damn gay’ or ‘she-boy’.
As mentioned earlier, when we talk about bullying, we often relate it immediately to physical or verbal bullying. There’s actually another type of abuse that is just as real and just as devastating. And that’s isolation.
As society has been constantly telling us how to be a heterosexual, and how to be a good man or a good woman, I realized from a very young age that I am different from these societal expectations. And more importantly, this difference isolated me from my peers and the society in general. The people around me also noticed that I was different from them.
Actually, things that happened to me when I growing up weren’t anything big. And nothing major happened. Just that during class, you can’t speak out, because no one acknowledges you; when we have to be separated into groups, no one wants to be in a group with you; in arguments, no one will stand by you whether you are in the right or wrong; [there’s] no one to share your happy moments with; no one wants to share a room with you during graduation trip. You don’t have friends. In those 3 years, there were more than 40 in the class, but you are forever on your own.
This, to me, is the most hurtful experience during my school years because at that time I still did not know why I was different from the others. I had to face all these on my own. I did not dare to talk to parents or teachers. I didn’t have friends around me that I could confide in. I can even say that I didn’t have any friends. And this isolation, this loneliness, this ostracization and this unfriendliness, and all the ridicule about gender, at first, all these made me, who at that time had not fully understood my condition, begin to find fault with myself. And when you have only yourself, you start to dislike yourself. [You think that] there is no one in this world who will ever like you. You do not matter anymore.
It’s only after a long long while, after I’d grown up, after I’d emerged from all this, only when I’d grown slightly stronger, slightly braver, only then maybe did I finally begin to like myself. Only then did I understand that I was not to blame for all these things.
(Translation: Alexis Goh; Editing: Cat Jensen)