Aziz Refaat

My name is Aziz Refaat. 

I’m a poet, writer and artist as well as a proud transman. I was born on 1969 at home in Alexandria, Egypt for an Egyptian father and Saudi mother. Few months later they got separated and mom took me and my older sister and went back to Saudi Arabia where I lived most of my age. 

I knew I’m a boy since I was 4, maybe earlier, but since I remember I was always sure that I’m a boy and I’ll be out of the girl’s body when I get older. That was at the beginning of the 70s, there was no internet, satellite, google or any other kind of nowadays technology that help to gather information and knowledge of (Gender Dysphoria) especially in a country like Saudi Arabia who was still walking its baby steps towards civilization. When I was in middle school all my classmates got their period a girl after another and their bodies started to change, for me I only got a little bit taller and my sexuality was defined more clear towards girls. There was a very famous and rare case all over the news about a girl from “Taif”-a city in Saudi Arabia- who became a boy after she turned 16 and didn’t get her period or any other feminine signs of becoming, I was 13 and so excited because it’s only couple of years more to be my true self and everyone around me will know that I was right about me being a boy. Few weeks later I woke up to my first period and to my long years of suffering and depression. Having my period was my first real trauma experience.

Day in and day out struggling with lots of disappointments things I finally met the live of my life when I was 19 and few months and as no other girl I knew before her, she believed in me as a transgender and we planned to escape from Saudi Arabia during our travels on the summer vacation and meet in Egypt where we can getaways to Europe or U.S. without needing a permission from our guardians then I can have my surgeries done and get married, we prepared for almost everything but fate had another plan for us and she got killed in a tragic accident. I was 20 and the fact that my mother didn’t understand the huge trauma I was going through, instead she kept telling me that what happened was God’s punishment towards the sin we were having. I drawn into a deeper level of depression and start a long journey of denial on and off of my true self. I spent long time feeling ashamed and guilty like I was the one who killed my love, I hated myself and started to push myself to live as a complete woman and harm myself a lot by doing that as well as others who got involved in my journey.

Long story short I gave birth to tow daughters from the same father, they’re now 28 and 26 and both are against my transition and our relationship as a family is not in good shape at all. My relationship with my mom and siblings in Saudi Arabia is fine and they’re supporting me financially till I find a job and have a stable income but they don’t know about my transition yet and I’m not sure how are they going to react when they know, for that I’m trying to keep it to myself until I get a job which is my main goal right now and it seems difficult to achieve since I’ve been trying to get a job since I got my work permit on the summer of 2014. Now I’m supposed to apply for my citizenship but I’m so worried about doing it while I’m jobless, has no one supporting me, I feel lonely and living as a stranger in a far country that I have many difficulties making friends in or adapting its culture and lifestyle. I’m trying everything I can but still, people like me and promise to help but nothing happens in real life just some promises and some good vibes here and there every now and then and I’m still struggling with the only fact of getting older and losing more and more energy and abilities from not practicing anything but sitting home with my ipad. LatelyI started a culinary art training program at the lgbt center but it was very hard to continue for its requirements of physical strength and be able to lift up heavy pots and utensils plus long hours of standing and the fact that the real job will be harder than the training made me reconsider the whole thing, I felt like I’m not going to be able to continue living here and decided not to apply for my citizenship, and that I’ll keep getting my financial support from my family for few more months til I get my bottom surgeries done then go back to my country no matter what but I figured that I don’t have a support family or friends to take care of me so I can go through my surgeries and that when I had a serious breakdown that I was about to kill myself because after all the suffering I went through trying to stay strong and patient enough to survive I feel like my life means nothing and I don’t have enough strength or energy to continue living alone that way, so I talked to my therapist then I met with my amazing case manager at the lgbt center openly and told her my whole story seeking a good advice since she’s way experienced and familiar with the system here and she referred me to Luckie, who makes feel I have family and support and I’m not a stranger or alone. He ignited the hope inside me and makes me feel I can do it all and it’s not the end yet. I’m so excited to be part of our family and one of the amazing legacies I heard of inside the invisible transmen, can’t wait till I get the chance to meet all and each one of you my siblings and be an effective member among you all.