Fatima Romanova, 27, Tbilisi

„I was born male but I am an intersex person, i.e. a person with xx chromosome. I was different from other children since my childhood. Everybody noticed that in the family, the more so that I was most different from 8 siblings (of which 4 were boys). During puberty it was noticeable that I developed different body shapes: narrow waist, breasts, legs… People often asked about me: “Whose girl is that? “

Discrimination, violence, bulling – everything started from school. They used to lock me inside a closet, throw explosives into it and yell: „Do you like being in the dark, you pederast? Would you like to have some male with you there?“ Or they would put a garbage can on my head and hit me with a broom… 13-14-year old children did that to me.

During the school years, I used the toilet only once and only the teachers’ toilet. I was rather afraid because I knew what was going to happen there – that I would be bullied, intimidated, that I would be treated badly and would face discrimination. I used to cry a lot… But I could not say anything at home. I could not say that they called me ‘pederast’. It was doubly difficult to confess this. I was scared and ashamed at the same time.

I was subject to physical and psychological violence at home as well. My brothers (one of them was 2 years older, and the other 7 years older than me), who were disgusted with me, would make respective comments. They would take the family photo album and cut out my face or paste to it a picture of some famous soccer player. Moreover, I had one toy, Teddy bear, which I loved very much. The toy had a plastic head. They would hit me with this toy because they knew that it would be more painful. And these were my own brothers who did that to me.

Currently my mother is my best friends and supporter. She is the person who accepted me the way I am. She is the person who has always supported me. There are no secrets between us. My Mom is the one person I can rely on.
However, I am still afraid. I am scared because those 13-14-year old boys that used to bully me at school, are around me today. I am afraid of the recurrence of those things I used to endure for years“.