TRANS* MAN IN ARMENIA
When I was a kid, probably 4-5 years old, I was asked. What do I want to be in the future? I have always said “a boy”, says Trans* man Arman (the name is changed of his own free will).
The letter T in the LGBT acronym stands for Trans * people, including Trans * men.
Trans * is an umbrella term that has nothing to do with sexual orientation. Trans * people are those whose gender identity and the sense of their own gender does not in one way or another match the gender ascribed at birth. It is used in a broader sense to include cross-dressers, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Some Trans* people identify themselves with the opposite sex, while others identify outside the binary system. The Latin word for trans means “out”, so trans * people “come out” of the gender attributed to them at birth.
The term transgender is for those whose gender does not meet the norms and expectations that are traditionally associated with gender at birth. The term transgender refers to people who have undergone sex reassignment surgery or undergone non-surgical gender reassignment surgery (for example, hormone therapy).
Who is Trans* man?
A person who biologically is a woman can identify himself as a man, live as a man, express his gender according to the means of expression typical of a man in certain culture. In this case, the person can identify himself as a transgender man.
This is just a description of the Oxford Dictionary. Few people know how Trans * men feel, how they interact with their families, what problems they face in society.
We talked about the life of a trans * man in Armenia with Arman (the name is changed by his wish) who is also Trans* man, he tells about his own experiences and feelings.
About gender perceptions and feelings
“Starting from my childhood, I have not had the behavior usually attributed to my biological sex. I was active, I was not gentle at all, I liked tough, rough games, all my preferences corresponded to those attributed to boys. But these are just conventions. It is even more important that I always felt that “I should have been born as a boy”, in any case, I saw the solution that way at that time, and in fact it was a deadlock because I did not have the opportunity to be born again until when I was 20-21 years old, when I ‘discovered’ that I’m not the only one in the situation, that if it ‘s really what I want in my life, transition can be the solution.”
Besides society, Trans* men have problems to be understood by their own families, sometimes the family doesn’t even know about their status, sometimes they don’t support their own child after knowing his/her status.
The collision between family and ego.
“This topic is one of the most painful, because the current reality has shown me how fragile the loud statements and empty values about our much-publicized families and the love of parental preconditions are. Because everything works just as long as you, as a child, meet the expectations of your parent / parents, and it is enough to take one step back from the pre-planned path to get the real picture. As a result, I have absolutely nothing to do with my family’s male side. And I say thank you to my mother (because probably only mothers are capable of such unconditional love), who has supported me from the very first day, DESPITE EVERYTHING. ”
Tips from a Trans * person
“I can not recommend much. Everyone goes through the process in a different and unique way. You just have to be more honest towards yourself as much as it is possible. It is not easy, it is a huge work with yourself to discover, recognize, understand and accept yourself. In the same way that others discover us, try to recognize, understand and accept us. When you know what you really want, the roads start to appear. And in the end everything passes by, if it is bad now, it will not always be like that. Everything is changing nowadays at a catastrophic speed. It gets better. »:
Trans * men are often discriminated against in society, and their expressions are very individual. Discrimination sometimes causes many problems.
“There are many problems faced by trans people, other members of the community and all the minorities all over the world: stigma, pointing, gossip, bad attitude of relatives, classmates, acquaintances, etc., which at first glance seem small, in fact, they poison the life drop by drop. In addition to interpersonal issues, there are also legal issues: opening a bank account, making credit purchases, obtaining a driver’s license, etc. The complexity or even the impossibility of the process of changing the gender mark in the passport is a big problem in Armenia. Compared to those changing the name is a more feasible dream with some exceptions. ”
About Discriminatory Attitude
To be honest, life became at least a few times easier for me since the transition, but everything is relatively peaceful as long as you are not “discovered”. It’s like a barrel of gunpowder that you sit on and there are a lot of smokers around it. At any moment, the barrel of a cigarette carelessly thrown by someone towards you, can cause an explosion blowing your world away. I remember the discriminatory attitude more when I was still a “girl” gfor the society and I did not correspond to that role at all. I did not fit into the standards of the society, therefore the discriminatory attitude was more visible”
Humorous stories depend on gender identity.
“One day I was waiting in a line at the cash register of the store, my eyes fell on the sign of the scarves of the women’s section. They were such bright, colorful, attractive, attention-grabbing scarves, and it occurred to me, “If I were a girl, I could buy them.” “The next moment my consciousness came on and I started laughing,” I do not know how ridiculous it will seem to the reader now, but at that moment it was so funny to me that I was standing alone laughing out loud. “
About the possibility of changing the world
“I would not interfere too much in world affairs, because every change can have different and unpredictable consequences. I just wish there was less evil in people, instead I would increase the need to be caring, empathetic. It was expected logically that there would be an answer as “I was born male”, but in reality now I am more hindered not by not being born as a male, but by the obligation to establish my gender identity, to establish myself and my role in the society in spite of the fact that I have achieved this inside me a long time ago. I have been in it for long time, I do not need to prove it, but you still have to convince the society, prove how much you are a person of this or that gender. And that is still the case when the fact of my identity is little known. The problem is that, primitively said, not having that specific body part does not prevent me from building my life (although, if I were to choose, I would hardly want to go through such a difficult and obstacle-filled journey to meet my basal need, easier It would be simply to be born male), the stereotypes and habits that prevail in this society and in the structure of the world in general do. ”
The conversation with Arman is one of the many stories of transgender men that exist in Armenia, but are hidden behind the stereotypes and the “norms” given to oneself by the society.
The stories are different, so are the heroes, but finding their own self remains difficult to overcome for everyone of them.
The compilation and publication of this material has become possible within the framework of the project on Capacity Building and Empowerment for Protection of LGBTI Human Rights in Armenia implemented by New Generation Humanitarian NGO with the financial support of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of New Generation Humanitarian NGO or the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.