Nata, 25, Tbilisi

“I was raised by my grandparents since I was born. My mother left me and my father died when I was 6 months old. I have done all the housework since childhood. I have had my own hens, pigs and turkeys, which were my source of income. I was very small, about 5-6 years old when I realized that I felt inclination towards older boys. I confessed and used to say that from the beginning, therefore my neighbors eventually got used to the idea that I was different. Then they thought and I also thought that I was gay because I did not know anything about transgender people nor did I have any information about them.

I loved wearing high heels and my grandmother’s jewelry, dresses and colored cloaks. I wore all these things freely. I walked in the village dressed as a woman but nobody bulled or mistreated me because of that. I wore high heels and makeup even when kids played soccer in the yard during the summer. Most of the time I stood in the gate as I could not run in high heels. I like wearing high heels because I feel more comfortable. I prefer plain makeup and clothing. When I dress as a female, nobody can guess that I am a male biologically, which pleases me.

Currently I am a sex worker. I used to work at a gasoline station and other places but since it is impossible to live on 200-300 GEL a month, I have to support myself in this way. My work involves huge risks. You are afraid that someone will threaten you, stab you or kill you with some other weapon… The patrol police fuels this feeling of insecurity by mocking you, talking to you ironically, offending you … In this case we are forced to file complaints with the General Prosecutor’s Office but there is absolute disregard, absolute silence from them… Even if I try, I cannot recall any happy memories relating to my sexual identity. My past experience has taught me that I should not trust anyone so I have stopped relying on people.”