Having a son is a blessingBy Sabah
PHOTOGRAPH by Sharon Kilgannon, Alonglines.com
I used to kick and scream a lot when my parents put me into girl’s clothes because I have a twin sister; we’re not identical, but you know, when parents just have the kind of urge to dress their kids the same.
That didn’t really work because of us not looking alike. I was much more overweight than her, so it looked almost like a parody. I guess I was obese as a child, I think it kind of covered up my body, so I never really saw my body as gendered. But then, when I started to hit puberty, I realised I was growing breasts and then I just felt really sad. I always knew that I never liked boys but that’s what you’re meant to do. I always would feel really strongly towards my best friends who were girls. I guess I started to focus on what was wrong with me.
When I came out to my mum and my dad about me wanting to be a boy, by that point friends called me “he” and I was living as a man. I had to almost kind of play up to the usual stereotypical trans person; changing name, you know, going through all the photographic ID stuff and then going to see a GP, hormones, surgery and all that. I think it’s more that that made them understand it. My dad, he’s really old and he’s quite traditional in that way. He just doesn’t know much about gender and the medical advancements, so he understood it in the sense that “Oh, right, like you’re not just a gay woman, you’re a man trapped in a woman’s body”. I think that’s why he’s okay with it. And also, having a son in an Asian culture is seen as like so great, it’s a real blessing. So, that helped.
This is Sabah's testimony in Chapter Two (Background, childhood, family, parenting, friends, school) of the ground-breaking Brighton Trans*formed book.
To read more intimate, heart-breaking and heart-warming stories from transgender people, click here.
This page was amended on 19/12/2014