Hi, I'm from Australia- though I live in the middle east- and my name, currently, is Emma. However, for years now I have preferred the name Kai.
Growing up in the Middle East knowing that you are not like all the other girls are honestly scary. People there have so many expectations and although they don't outright say it to your face. Their eyes tell a whole other story. Now, not everyone here is bad as per say, some of them understand. All of the some of them that I know are the international people who weren't born and raised here.
Everyone looks at you with this disturbed look when they see you even slightly resembling what the opposite gender supposedly should look like.
All of my gay Arab friends are scared of the consequences- which are scary consequences if you aren't Arab anyways- coming out would bring.
I mean, there are the rare cute gay couple that is super discrete and no one notices unless you're looking for it. (Yes, I was watching them to see if my suspicions were right. They were hot and my gaydar was like "YASSSSS".)
But even if your walk is presumed gay, you will get those looks. You can only imagine how scary school is when it comes to LGBT. Let me warn you, the word gay is used equally as much as the word chocolate is used.
"How did you figure things out for yourself amongst all of this?" You probably didn't actually ask, but I'm going to pretend you did.
Well, since I was young and could understand what was around me, I had been told that girls had to be a certain way and boys had to be a certain way. There was no in between and whatever you had between your legs defined what role you play in life.
I believed it.
So I started to rebel against those rules I had been given, though I didn't really understand why I was rebelling.
All my life, I have hated shopping, dresses, skirts, heels, makeup, dancing, ballet- anything that had the slightest resemblance of the stereotype in which some girls live with.
At age 8 or 9, I bought myself a beanie from the boy's section when shopping and I was so proud of myself! I didn't understand why I had this intense amount of happiness that I never get from shopping, and I didn't care.
The look on my parent's faces resembled pure concern. and from that day on, I was never allowed to buy anything- not even hats or socks- from the boy's section in a clothing store. I was angered and sad and on the verge of tears when my mum told me I couldn't buy this awesome Pac-man snap back because "girls aren't boys, you can't shop there if you aren't a boy-".
I nodded along because, honestly, I am the child you can easily guilt trip into doing anything for you.
I constantly tried to act, dress, even sang like a boy would because I thought I was just being a tomboy and rebellious! But at age 13 I tried to figure out why I had done all of this as a child.
At age 13, I got curious. Every single time I looked down in the mirror after a shower, I felt sick to my stomach and I hated what I saw. It wasn't like I thought I was fat or ugly- It was more or less a sudden hatred to having a female body.
I did some research and went onto sites that have helped me through so much. and I learned that there was a chance I might have gender dysphoria. At first, I was like "no! I am probably making this stuff up! There is no way.... Oh."
I had realised that I had an urge to be someone else and I felt as if I was suffocating.
All of a sudden my entire world crashed down on me.
Everything I had done in the past- every time I got jealous of some guy for being... well, a guy- suddenly made sense. My sisters had even given me a name to call me if I was a guy. They had called me Kai for an entire hour and I'd never been so happy!
That night, I had worked myself into such a hysterical state- curled in a ball next to my twin sister who was fast asleep and sobbed for hours.
You see, during 6th grade and 7th grade I became suicidal. I was rude to my friends, I wouldn't try in school, I gave up, and I hated everything. I was bullied and my sister and I were called lesbian lovers and I almost got kicked out of my school. I was saved by a friend of mine though and I will never forget her.
But, I was still the disappointment of my family and I lost all of their trust. I never want to go back to a time like that ever.
So for the last few years, I have suffered internally with my thoughts. I look in the mirror and I see Kai staring back at me with a sad smile as if to say: I understand and I will wait forever.
My friends and I have created a group chat which we called Dumbledores army and they call me kai and they understand me because there we are united as one. And, I wish more people could understand what it's like to feel like you're in a cage with the key in front of you, yet you're too scared to move and wake the beast that rests in the cage with you.
I am hopeful though and I have some of the best people around me, loving me as Kai and not Emma.
And, for all those people transitioning or just figuring things out- do not hate yourselves for it!
Do not let anyone stop you or push you around because you don't feel comfortable being what you were born as or what you wear.
If people don't like you because you feel such ways- then having them in your life isn't worth the pain and hurt. Whenever you feel down, just remember that you can be free soon and that you're so much better than them.
Life is a myriad of colours- like a rainbow- and you can't let anyone knock you down because they are too scared of change <3
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Real stories from the World - LGBTQ+Non-Fiction
This collection of stories is an attempt to share stories of how it is to live as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in different parts of the world. The first stories will post the 17th of May, the International day against homophobia and transphobia...