Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Me, myself and Anaraa - a long overdue interview

- So what's up these days with Anaraa, why the long drawn-out silence on the blog from November onwards? We missed you.
- Well, that's just what life is, right, for some people, one long drawn-out transit time between events. At least that's how I also experienced life until this year. The beautiful thing is that's no longer the case. I don't see life as transit time between events and people. I guess you could say that I truly began walking the power of now this year.
- Are you happy with how this year went in terms of your goals and aspirations for LGBT people in Mongolia?
- Absolutely, although I have to correct you there that I always have had other aspirations in life that were not connected with LGBT people. I was on the board of the LGBT Centre till mid-July this year, however, with my transition, personal dreams and aspirations absolutely took a primary focus in my life. I began my hormone replacement therapy on 5 June this year, a life-long event that I had waited for. The therapy's giving its results, I am taken as a guy by 95% of people I come in contact, albeit a lot of people mistake me for a gay guy.
- A gay guy?! But you're not gay, are you?
- No, I have always loved women, and that doesn't change with transition. Sexual orientation does not change with transition, that is a fact. In a way, I take the interest from gay guys as a huge compliment to my masculinity. Friends said that some people might perceive me as a gay guy thanks to the echoes of femininity that I had tried to master in 24 years of trying to pass and live as a woman. Let me tell you something: the energies that women and men give off when they are attracted to you are decidedly different. Because it is new to me, to be desired as a guy by other guys, it often unnerves me. I noticed those interested looks and light cruising from guys for the first time in September, and I was shocked then because psychologically I wasn't prepared for that side effect of my transition. But now it's just another aspect of my life.
- So the therapy must be going really well. Are there other things you want to share about your transition?
- I just talked about how I am perceived by guys. Now let me tell you how I am perceived by women [chuckles]. 16 years of my life I had spent in an LGBT community, I am still with them because that's where majority of my life energies were dedicated. As it happens, I am still hanging out with lesbians and gays, and I am, unfortunately, falling in love, still, with lesbians and bisexual women. I began dating again in September, hanging out with women, spending time with my community more. Soon after I found myself falling in love with some of them, and being a straightforward type of a guy, I told them about how I felt to only be rebuffed unequivocally with "I am a lesbian, you are a guy, we could never be together" (one of the women who said that is now pregnant, by the way), and one of the bisexuals told me that she could never be with me because I didn't have a penis.
-Uh-oh... So they don't know that you still have your birth body till you go for your surgeries? 
- I guess not. One of them later on rubbed salt over the injury and said that I was a freak, that I was perceived as a freak by lesbians. Starting from November it was a period of confusion and much apprehension, especially in regard to my personal life because that was when I found out that the woman I fell hard for was pregnant. I guess that kind of news breaks not only one's heart, but also a bit of spirit. Another thing is, although I still do have my birth body, and I'm certain to go for chest reconstruction within the next couple of years, I would not want whoever is with me to get too attached to my present body. At the same time, I would not want whoever is with me to get too hung up about what will happen in the future about my body. The last few months were simply a glimpse at the life I would have for the rest of my life, the labels such as freak firmly attached to my forehead.
- No wonder you had no updates for your blog.
- Indeed. As for other transition-related matters: very happy with the muscle development, especially on my upper body. Happy with the facial and body hair as well. Everything is going as per usual. Really unhappy with the fact that I can no longer cry, though. It's no longer physically possible, not when I'm sober. When a little under influence of alcohol, I find it much easier to cry. Go figure.
- Now, we know that you had been on 'a hiatus' from work for 3/4ths of this year. How did that affect you in conjunction with the fact that when you were finally ready to date again after the separation from your wife, you met this sort of lack of comprehension?
- Surprisingly well. Although to be on a hiatus was never my choice, I saw how I needed the time to myself to sort out and prioritise my life. And if that lack of comprehension and acceptance came from the fact that I finally did what I had planned from 2004 summer, knew from the age of 10, then be it. Overall, it's been a great year for me, the highlight again being my transition.
- There was a recent entry in your blog about how you found the one you will love for the rest of your life. Who is she? Wouldn't she also reject you, being a lesbian herself? I take it that it is someone who identifies as a lesbian or a bisexual given that you're mostly hanging out with the LGBT people.
- Yes, she is indeed... But the connection I felt with her was more than a matter of sexual orientation or gender identity. It was an intense karmic connection that I didn't know existed, that I didn't think I'd experience. I would like to keep her identity to myself until such time that I'm with her. She is a good friend, I don't want to jeopardise my friendship by giving out names. I do hope that in a few years she will be mature enough to no longer deny the one and only strong connection in her life.
- Some people said that they saw your photo on two, three boulevard press newspapers in recent times. What was in those articles, have you seen them, and are you worried about the effect of those yellow press articles?
- To be honest, yes I am worried. On the other hand, I would never pursue those newspapers for encroaching into my personal space and thereby leaving me open to all sorts of attacks on my person because I would simply never see justice done with those newspapers. I can see many adverse effects arising out of those articles, especially the last one with my picture. I never saw those articles, I don't even know which papers carried those articles, but I had people tell me that they saw those articles. It is scary. Journalists should always remember how their simple, or in some cases, malign coverage might affect someone's very life. Mongolian journalists are simply not at that stage yet.
- Your plans for the 2012?
- I will continue writing my blog as soon as I feel safe, that I can promise. Happy 2012!

4 comments:

  1. Hi Anaraa! Thanks for this article. Yes, everyone needs some time off to themselves, to gather thoughts, to feel safe, and most of all to re-energise.

    But having said all these, I hope you will someday write your book. It would be of great value and insight for everyone.

    Have a great 2012!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Susan! I guess one day a book will be written, sooner than later. Wishing you a very happy 2012 as well! Thanks for reading my blog :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. hey anaraa, best wishes in 2012 and all years to come ! we used to work together for some UN projects some years ago, always loved your upbeat personality and quirkiness, and your killer smile :)
    ... world is darn stupid, hang in there… warmest hugs from east coast, usa

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey random, thanks! Never knew I had a killer smile, good to know ;) Wishing you, too, all the very best for 2012 and beyond!

    ReplyDelete

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