“Right Side” Human Rights Defender NGO, ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, is conducting range of interviews with Transgender people.
In this article, we present the story of Magdalena, who is a Transgender sex worker. Not wanting to reveal her real name, Magdalena says that there have been many violence cases against her. Now she is able to defend herself more or less, but before she faced violence almost every day.
To the question if there has ever been violence against her, Magdalena answers։
– There have been many violence cases. I may say that my life has been full of violence. The last case was in the house where I live with my friend. Both of us are sex workers because we are students, on the other hand I cannot find a job anywhere else. My friend was waiting for her client and when he came, he asked some water. My friend went to bring water. As the client started talking rudely to me, I started to do the same. As a result, he attacked us and started hitting us. Fortunately, I was able to defend myself; I was also trying to defend my friend. I damaged my phone and computer. One of the chairs in the house was broken, not counting the injuries that my friend and I have now. The client was so aggressive that shouted sexual insults in a very impudent way. All this was happening at night. The important thing was that in parallel with all that, he constantly demanded to tell him my real name. This type of violence is frequent.
Who use violence against you, in general?
– Violence against me is more often by clients. Despite all this, as I study at the university, I often come across bad expressions addressed to me too. There were often insulting expressions towards me by my relatives. Moreover, I remember very well the case when my cousin, founding out about my SOGI, came to beat me with his two friends. I was fired from my previous workplace just because they found out about my SOGI. The reason for my dismissal was the following։ “You are not the person to work with us.” These kind of violence cases and many others have a very bad influence on people. I have been subjected to stresses many times, my fears have increased, etc. It can be said that I have been subjected to all kinds of violence both psychological and physical and economic. When my mother’s friend was living with us, after knowing about me, she forbade me to leave the house, she took my phone, changed Wi-Fi password and they didn’t give me money. My mom was working from morning till night and when she was returning home, her friend used to say that she was “putting me on the right direction”.
How have you overcome the consequences of violence against you?
– First of all, I was able to overcome the consequences of the violence by being informed about my rights. Then I started raising my voice about them. Along with all this, I have begun to value my life, understand my goals, and appreciate my desires and myself as a person-individual. As a result, I have become stronger psychologically as well as physically.
Who and what organizations have helped you to overcome the consequences of violence.
– One of my close friends was with me on the way of overcoming the consequences of violence. I can say she is my only close friend who always listens to me, understands and supports me. By following her advice I have learned to appreciate myself, despise the bad social mentality and to master the “the subtle art of not giving a fuck”. My friend helped me to normalize my relationship with my mother. She talked to my mother many times; as a result, I have a better relationship with her today.
I was not very aware of the organizations but I knew that there were some working in the field of human rights. Today I have a good relationship with my mother and we feel happy.
The intervew is edited.
Nov 18, 2020 Armenia Yerevan