Shakira (alias) came to seek asylum in Germany in 2015 | Photo: private
Shakira (alias) came to seek asylum in Germany in 2015 | Photo: private

There are many gay and transgender people among Afghan refugees who have escaped to European countries, including Germany. One of those who came to Germany told InfoMigrants that he was constantly under threat in Afghanistan.

My name is Shakira (alias) and I come from Afghanistan. In 2015, I came to Germany as a refugee. One year ago, my asylum application was accepted. Because I am transgender, I had many problems in Afghanistan. A transsexual person is not allowed to get a job in a governmental or private organization. To cover my living expenses, I used to dance at parties. There were times that I was sexually abused after parties.

My family used to punish me and they kept me locked at home because they were ashamed of me. Nevertheless, I had contact with them and I have sometimes visited them after I moved out. Some of my transgender friends were even killed by their families.        

When I was a child, I was playing with girls, and my friends were girls. This was not acceptable to my family, so they always punished me. Several times I was beaten up by my uncle and our neighbors; I was arrested by the police and they shaved my hair.

I was raped for the first time at the age 13 or 14. Later on, it happened several times more. I was forced to have sex with men when the dance parties were over.

I could not complain to the government, if I would have gone to authorities and they had found out that I am transgender, I would have been imprisoned on charges of making of the community immoral.

Finally, my uncle locked me up at home, and after three days he came to me and said: "Tonight is the last night of your life and you will die”.

I had to break the window glass and jump down from the second floor. I went to a friend and stayed with him until I had enough courage, and then I escaped to Germany.

I was on the road for two months; it was a very bad journey. The smugglers put us in the trunk of a car, a few people even died. While traveling, I wore normal men's clothes and I was very scared. We had to spend a week in a forest. One night it was very cold and it was snowy and rainy. In the morning I woke up I noticed that one of my legs was numb and I could not move it at all. I got treatment in Germany a year ago, and now it's better.

I am happy with my life in Germany, although I sometimes get harassed or assaulted by people, especially by newly arrived asylum seekers. But the situation is much better than in Afghanistan. Here I can wear women's clothes, make-up and go to school. I lived for six months with my German boyfriend, but for the time being, we are separated and I want to focus on my studies.

I also work in a hairdresser's shop, and I'm planning to get vocational training in the future. I am happy with the people and the German government, but my message to asylum seekers who have just come to Germany is to understand us.

I would have been killed if I were in Afghanistan. My parents have died and I only get in touch with my sisters and brother in Afghanistan. There are many gay and transgender people in Afghanistan, but they cannot reveal their identities. Only when they go to parties, they wear women's clothes and makeup secretly, but they are punished and face many problems. They are also harassed by the government, for example, if they have sex with a man and police is informed, they will be imprisoned for three years.