When it comes to transgender people, Afghanistan is a more difficult place to live in for Trans people than it is for women. They either migrate to western countries or subdue their real identity at home country. The moment they come out to their families and society, they are locked at homes, abandoned or ridiculed by their families and society. The Afghan laws do not protect their right to education, work and especially marriage. Homosexuality is deemed a shame and crime in Afghanistan.
On the other hand, Zardozi stands in full support of the diverse community it works with. It has given voice to the voiceless regardless of their gender differences. In this story, Alla Gul who tells his real name as something else is a transgender.
Sixteen years old Alla Gul is from Nangarhar where he lives together with his six brothers and three sisters. He came out to his family three years ago which came as a shock to his parents. It took his family a long time to embrace and live with the fact.
Alla Gul is a smart and brave kid. Every little and big step has been a big fight for him. Although serving as a servant at one of the hospitals in Nangarhar, Alla Gul still does not have the courage to attend big gatherings such as wedding ceremonies, funerals, or even visiting relatives.
After becoming Zardozi’s client, he recognized that going to Manbeh was the only place where he felt safe because the women in Manbeh are very comfortable sitting in one room with him.
With a sad smile on his face, Alla Gul says,“People laugh at me and mock me. Therefore, I am staying at home all the time. Only attending the Manbeh cheers me up. This is the only place where I feel very happy and I can be who I am. I also like to play cricket with other kids, to go to the Mosque for prayer and to learn Quran-e-Sharif, but I cannot. Instead, I am now learning Quran from my trainers and other women in Manbeh.”
For Alla Gul, it is easy to be surrounded by women especially when he shares the same skills with them: Tailoring and Gul Dozi.
“Zardozi staff members are very kind to me. They invite me to their events and exhibitions which is something new for me, but it is also a place where I can express myself through my skills and products. Some people respect me for my work which is a big thing for a transgender in a country like Afghanistan.”
He adds that there are many NGOs who work for human rights, but they have ignored the transgender people. They are neglected in every walk of life. The possibility of death is higher for this particular group of people.
“But I am thankful to Zardozi colleagues because they accepted me for who I am and taught me important skills. You know, one of the best feelings for me has been that when a customer praises my work and tells me how my concept is wonderful, innovative and meets their needs perfectly,” he exclaimed!
Alla Gul is still very concerned about his future. He does not know what will life offer him but what he knows very well is that people will always say bad things, but he will not allow them to hold him back.