Hi, I also want to tell my story. I’m 15 years old. Where I live, people are extremely conservative and homophobic. When I was six, my sister reacted to the cartoon I watched as “this is a boys cartoon.” I was always mature for my age, physically and mentally. I looked like a middle-schooler in primary school. My friends would always make comments about my appearance. I loved playing football, but my boyfriends wouldn’t allow it and say, “You are a girl. Piss off!” Of course, my family oppresses me the most. They are always commenting about my hair, weight, height and make fun of me. My father once told me, “I will buy you a black veil, and you will wear it.” They also forced me to fast. My father would always curse at the TV while eating dinner. He’d say, “fucking Alawites.” Anyways, 2-3 years passed like this, but I also was questioning myself in the meantime.
When I became 13, I started to buy books about politics and religion and research them. I wanted to become Alawit so bad. Those whirls, those promises… I was really impressed by those things and felt that my core belonged there. When I told my family about it, my father beat me with a belt that whole night. I spent my days kissing Atatürk’s pictures, talking with Ahmet Kaya posters. I had questions enough, and I was a leftist now. Right, equality, justice; I had adopted these concepts. I defended one of my friends at school when they called him “Faggot.” My father didn’t allow me to go to school for a semester because of things like this.
They forced me to go to an Imam Hatip high school in the 9th grade. I always told my family, “Women and men are equal; if a man can do it, I can too.”, but in return, they’d say, “Slut! You have been brainwashed!” They always tell me, “look at this hair; you look like boys. Look at your weight, your height…” And what bothers me most is that my father always tries to oppress me. Him telling me, “Do you have a life? Are you even a person? Would you worth 3 pennies?” is always excruciating.
I tried to kill myself more than once just to escape this empty place. But then I changed my mind because I have to grow up and teach my child what’s right. I love hope; I love flowers, the sky, laughter – my mother gets furious when I laugh – animals, and helping people. I always think, dream, and read. I cry every time I see a woman getting raped and killed because it doesn’t make sense. I hate my family for getting involved with the clothes I will wear, the school I will go to, and the words I will say. My mother wouldn’t allow me to play with my male cousins when I was a child. My father always told me, “What is politics for a girl? You will become a terrorist. I won’t let you go to school and make you marry a man.” But I want to be the voice of the oppressed. I cry for stray animals when it rains. I never saw the sea or high mountains, but I want to read poems by visiting and looking at the enormous mountains. I want to play the violin, but my father broke the violin that I bought with the money I secretly saved. He doesn’t allow me to; what is it for me? I wouldn’t become a useful person anyway.
You don’t know how much I wished that they were supportive and that they would listen to me. But they always excluded me, always looked for my deficit, and made fun of it. My mother’s only advice is this; you can’t laugh at a men’s presence. You will not enter the house where you see men’s shoes at the door, and you will sit appropriately. I want to dance, but I can’t dance with these legs, as they say. I want to dye my hair every color, but I can’t at this age, as they say. My family and friends always make fun of me, even though my honor and trust are hurt. I hope I will see daylight one day. One day I will go where ever I want whenever I want. I will laugh out loud without any fear and wear that beautiful red lipstick.
- The Alawis, or Alawites, are a sect of Shia Islam. The Alawites revere Ali, considered the first Imam of the Twelver school. The group is believed to have been founded by Ibn Nusayr during the 9th century.
- Imam Hatip schools are educational institutes in Turkey where people are trained for religious professions such as imams.
(Image: Edvard Munch)