A non-binary Scottish teen has opened up on being told they were ‘disgusting’ and ‘going to hell’ after coming out to their strict religious family.
Mahadeeha Shakoor, 19, grew up in the Muslim faith and said they first began to struggle with their gender as a young child.
After years of hiding their true self, the student, who was born female, came out as gay to their friends at the age of 14.
But it took a further four years before Mahadeeha, from Glasgow, realized they were non-binary and eventually disclosed their identity to their family when they were 18.
Mahadeeha has now bravely told how the reaction from one relative left them feeling ‘unsafe’ and ‘scared’ as they were subjected to horrific emotional abuse.
Speaking to the Record, they said: “Some of my relatives have always been very openly homophobic and transphobic throughout my childhood.
“They would talk about how disgusting being gay is and how it is a terrible sin. That obviously made me feel really uncomfortable and awkward.”
On one occasion, when Mahadeeha was 15, a relative followed them in a car while they were out with a trans friend they were dating at the time.
Mahadeeha continued: “When they thought we kissed, they drove up and started yelling abuse at me. They called me disgusting and that I was going to hell and told me: ‘you’re dead to me’.
“After that, I was told over and over I was dead to them.
“When I formally came out to my family, one relative repeatedly sent me parts of the Quran about repenting.
“I wasn’t even allowed to take driving lessons at 17 or get a job at 16 as they feared I would use it as an opportunity to explore my sexuality. It was controlled.”
Mahadeeha’s mental state deteriorated as they struggled with their identity, resulting in a battle with anxiety and depression.
They said: “I suppressed who I am for years because I knew it would’ve made my life a lot harder.
“It was really scary because I didn’t know if anyone in my family would support me.
“My emotional state was horrific. I started to get really depressed and anxious.
“I wasn’t sleeping and I was having panic attacks over my gender identity and who I might be.”
Mahadeeha, a radio production student at the City of Glasgow College, says they now know they have battled with gender dysphoria for as long as they can remember.
Gender dysphoria causes a person clinically significant distress or impairment related to a strong desire to be of another gender, which may include a desire to change primary and/or secondary sex characteristics.
Mahadeeha has recently decided to begin their transition, which will involve taking the male hormone testosterone.
They hope to transition into a non-binary body and will continue to identify as such.
They said: “I’ve always had gender dysphoria but I’ve never really let myself believe that.
“It took me a very long time to understand it all – what my thought processes are and what my dysphoria is.
“I started looking for other non-binary people to validate me.
“I’ve never identified with being trans until recently.”
Mahadeeha has started fundraising to raise money for hormone therapy.
Due to long NHS waiting times to start medically transitioning, they are looking to go private, which is set to cost around £1,400.
So far, Mahadeeha has raised £900 of the target since launching a GoFundMe page.
To donate to Mahadeeha’s fundraiser, click here.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.