Remember Miss Iris Sahhara Henson, the Nigerian transgender who turned himself from being male into being a female? That created a lot of buzz in the Nigerian entertainment world because of the very low acceptance she got from Nigerians. She seems to be having a great time as she is doing well as a super model and was the cover girl of Transliving Magazine 2 weeks ago.
Well, meet another Nigeria’s former female who turned herself into a man. He was born in Lagos as a female. In his recent article for Ebony magazine, he claimed that his being born in Lagos and as a girl amounted to her not having respect, power and privilege. His name is Rizi Xavier Timane.
He described being “trappd in a body I did not feel was my own and in a country that was homophobic, transphobic, sexist, and hyper-religious.”
Now that she has succeded in transforming herself to a man, he face new challenges of being a black male in the United States of America.
He narrates his ordeal before the transformation, and the fears he now has as a result of the new identity to Ebony.
“Every day between the ages of eight and twelve, I got down on my knees and prayed that God would change me into the boy I knew I was inside. When that didn’t work, I tried running away from how I felt, turning later in life to drugs and alcohol and battling severe depression along with my gender dysphoria. I resigned myself to identifying as a Black lesbian for the rest of my life and to all the cultural bias and discrimination that comes with it, particularly in my country of origin, where being gay or lesbian can lead to imprisonment.
“Eventually, through a long and difficult process of self-realization, I came to see that I did have some choice in the matter of how I presented my gender identity to the world. That I wasn’t tied to that female body and its attendant dearth of cultural value. Today, after twenty surgical procedures plus ongoing hormonal treatments, I can proudly say that I am completely male inside and out. No longer am I the scared child living in an oppressive nation or the adult going through the motions in a life that was not my own. I am now a heterosexual man living in the United States and enjoying all the societal respect and privilege I’d missed out on for so long, when I was not able to express my authentic self.
“As a man, I enjoy a higher status than I did when I lived as a woman—people listen to me when I speak and automatically value my opinions; I no longer feel meek and subservient, as I believed I was supposed to be. Of course, there are other challenges now that I am living in my truth. As a Black man, however, I constantly feel like I have a target on my back–like I am the focal point of America’s most vehement hatred right now. I know that I could lose this life I’ve worked so hard to build in an instant—another Michael Brown, another John Crawford, another Eric Garner. Black teen boys are twenty-one times more likely than their White peers to be killed by police and the stats aren’t much better when you turn 21. One in three of us can expect to go to prison in our lifetime. Whenever I leave my house now, my wife reminds me to keep both hands on the steering wheel if a cop pulls me over, so he doesn’t think I’m reaching for a gun. While I don’t dismiss the tragic cases of police violence against Black women, it’s not lost on me that she didn’t say this when I presented as a woman.
“Overall I feel that much of my struggle as a transgender individual is behind me. But as a Black man, my journey has just begun. This is not exactly the life I signed up for. Not that I thought living as a man would be one nonstop party, but I guess we don’t realize how serious a situation can be until we live through it. Still, I’m grateful; despite the trials of being a Black male in America, I am finally comfortable in my skin, and that alone brings me a sense of personal power.”