Who will decide my fate?

Saima1 While growing up, I was more interested in girls’ games, like playing with dolls, girls’ fashion clothes, jewelry and kitchen games. Because of this, my family did not allow me to play outside the house. When I was twelve years old and started playing outside, I realized that other boys were taking sexual interest in me. After the death of my father, I was one day asked by his colleague to meet him at his home for some important work. When I reached there, no one is at home, but him and he started harassing me physically by kissing me on my cheeks and touching my private body parts. After this incident, I was scared and horrified and did not mention anything to my family because they were not open enough to understand this issue. This was like a normal routine for me, all men living and working in my area, especially shopkeepers, were harassing me, when I was outside my home.

First time I was raped, it was done by six boys and one teacher in the school laboratory room. They called me after school hours and asked me to visit them for study purposes. After this incident I was extremely upset and disappointed of my life, and I decided to discuss this issue with a popular transgender from my area. She told me that I am a transsexual and I should wear clothes like girls to avoid this incident in future. I ran away from my house and reached another big city in Pakistan, called Lahore. I went to the red light district called Hera Mandi. The trans women and some other women helped me; and I learned classical dance and other forms of dance. During this time I had contact with my mother by post. One day she wrote in her letter that I should come back to Karachi, because their financial situation was extremely bad. Because of this I came back Karachi and many of my transsexual friends in Lahore helped me to meet other popular transsexual people in Karachi.

There is a system made by transsexual people in Pakistan, that if you want to work as a dancer, you should choose a head called ”Guru” whose work is to assure other men that this person is not a ”man”, he is 100 percent transsexual. During this time I mostly danced in private dance and wedding parties, mostly catering to the upper class of Karachi. But the life had darker parts: one day I was coming back with my other transsexual friends from a huge party where I earned lots of money. The police stopped us and asked us that why we dressed up like women. They put us all in their police van and took us to the police station. There they took all our money and raped us in their houses, which were on the backside of the police station. After that incident I was extremely upset. Later I met my cousin and we fell in love and had a relationship, but I realized that he was very controlling against me. He did not want me to dance in front of other men, and when I danced for money; he abused me mentally and physically, for example by putting out his cigarette on my hand and cutting my skin with a knife blade. He asked me not to wear my clothes, but I cannot live without my transsexual clothes, because I always feel like a woman. I broke up my relation with him. I love my freedom.

After these two incidents, I thought that I was not normal and took help from a general doctor and a psychiatrist and they answered me that it is normal and your genes is different from others’, that’s why you are like this and you don’t need medication. My ex-boyfriend told my father ‘s family members, like my father brothers who live in Waziristan, that I am transsexual and involved in dirty activities. My ex-boyfriend and his brother were also involved in an extremist religious group and they started searching for me. I complained to the police and the inspector told me that he will come to my house and will listen to my problems. At night he came to my place with seven other police officers and beat me and raped me and my other trans friend and cut off my hair and shaved my eye brows. They knew that transsexual people are famous for their hair. My cousin has good contact with different police groups. They told them about my complaint and the attack was a reaction to it. I moved to another city called Hyderabad and lived with my Guru. My ex-boyfriend was searching for me, and one day he asked my close transsexual friend about my address but she refused. Then he send someone who threw acid on her face – so my friend lost her face. It’s difficult for me to live in Pakistan. My Guru gave me the address of an agent. I gave him 8000 dollars to reach Sweden.

I reached Sweden and applied for asylum. In 2010 I had my first interview in TV 4, in which I talked about my problems and also stated that all men in Pakistan are bisexual and also converted myself from Islam to Christianity. After this interview all Pakistani and Afghani community was against me. They attacked me two times and I reported this incident to the police. My second interview in Sweden was done by the RFSL magazine called Kom Ut. After these interviews many in the Pakistan community living in suburbs of Stockholm started campaigns against me, and threatened to kill me because I am against Islam.  They reacted very negatively and I was raped by four Pakistani guys in Stockholm. I reported this incident to the police.

During this time I received three negative decisions from the Migration board and in their decision they did not say anything about my police reports in Sweden. In this extremely bad period of my life I met a guy who is interested in me and understand my feelings. He proposed to me. In Pakistan I always wanted to live like a woman. I accepted his proposal. I married him on 15 september 2012.

In the end of 2012 all of my family members living in suburbs of Stockholm knew about my interviews and my wedding. I did not know that my family members, like nephews, are living in Sweden. I thought they were living somewhere else in Europe. They sent my interviews to Pakistan; and now all of my relatives  think that I should be murdered because I am against Islam. My life is difficult in Sweden and it is impossible for me to live in Pakistan. The migration board again reconsiders my application and will interview me on July 18 2013.

In Pakistan a person in high court Karachi filed case against my ”gay marriage” in Sweden. Family members of mine in Sweden are responsible for this. In Pakistan all media reacted to this news and big newspapers and TV channels covered it. Urdu newspaper Juraat covered my story, followed BBC Urdu, Voice of America, and a Sindi newspaper call Kawish. Many of the United Kingdom newspapers covered my story as well, followed by the Swedish newspaper local.se. In these media reports it was clearly mentioned that Muhammad Yaqoob (which is my legal name) was married to a man in Sweden, and according to a Pakistani law he will be in jail for a minimum of ten years and according to Islamic law he will recieve death penalty. The High court also threatened the president of RFSL, demanding her to stop her support to Muhammad Yaqoob, otherwise she will also risk life imprisonment.

My life is in a very bad condition, I do not know who will decide my fate, Swedish authorities or the state of Pakistan. If I am forced to get back to Pakistan, should I leave my loving husband in Sweden? I am sure that I will be killed by Islamic extremists or family members if I get back to Pakistan, or they will put me in jail for life. Pakistan has a bad security situation, even the Swedish embassy closed its high commission many times in Pakistan for security reason. How can I live in a country, in which there are no current laws respecting LGBT people and they consider us something bad for society and religion? My end will be death.

Saima Khan


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