News Report: The Word Transsexual is Just a Label

Posted By Oluatoyin Alleyne On August 12, 2012 @ 5:08 am
As a child Sade Richardson always knew there was something different about her and it took her years before she realized that she was a female in a male body.
“I knew I was different but I didn’t know why… until I reached to about fifteen, sixteen; then is when I realized who I really was,” she told the Sunday Stabroek in a recent interview.
Sade Richardson
Now 28, Sade is a ‘pre-op transsexual,’ meaning she has started taking hormonal treatment but the process has not been completed to make her a ‘post-op transsexual.’ The road to this point, begun ten years ago, has been a long and arduous long one, and today she continues to fight her battles – most times silently – although it pains her that society is so unaccepting of people like herself. While she does not allow society to define who she is, it was more than a culture shock when she was required to return to Guyana from the US where she began the road to becoming a transsexual and was forced to deal with a homophobic society. Sade does not want to discuss why she returned to Guyana, nor does she reveal the name she was once known by, but during a difficult interview with the Sunday Stabroek her only appeal was for people like her to be allowed to live their lives. For her the word ‘transsexual‘ is just a label, which she said is not right, since at the end of the day she is a human being.

“Labels should be abolished; they’re only, in my view, another form of discrimination. Everybody is different, yet everybody is created equal; we’re all human beings. That’s what we all have in common. It’s hard to find myself sometimes (or a lot of the time)… I’m not proud of being transsexual, but I should be proud to be me,” she told the Sunday Stabroek. Sade said that when she announced she was gay her mother, now deceased, took her to the doctor, and it was discovered that she had more female hormones than male. “That made her a little more understanding to my sexuality, but she always use to say she don’t want me to be this way because society is going to be bad to me… I always told her not to care about people so much, but a day like today I do understand what she was saying as because of my sexuality a lot of doors are closed to me.” The youngest of three children Sade said her older sisters have no problem with her sexuality, but some other relatives were not too accepting at first but now they see “I am just trying to live a good decent life and they now show me some respect.”

‘Knowing my sexuality’
Sade said she has no problem with people knowing her sexuality, and is open about it if asked, but if she is not to be accepted then for herself, the person is not worth knowing.
“The ones that stay and accept your past are the ones that really count,” she commented. “I love my life, I am comfortable with who I am, but I must admit that there is a big difference in societies from New Jersey to Guyana, but I am already into this lifestyle and I am not going to change for anyone,” she said. For her some Guyanese just have “too much free time” and they just use it to “up in other people’s business.” She said some persons can tell she is transsexual, and as such on her return to Guyana she has been through a lot attempting to get a job. She recalled that she applied to manage a new hotel in Essequibo which she described as a “fabulous job.” The operator came to Georgetown to interview her and Sade said the interview went well until he requested identification and at that time her Guyanese ID card described her as a male (she has since changed that).

“Of course it was awkward; he looked at me, looked at the ID again and then he was like curious, and I was like okay [and explained to him] and he was like, I am going to give you call. I am still waiting on that call.” Sade said there is “a lot of discrimination” in Guyana noting that when people hear about a transsexual they “always think about somebody who is loud, obnoxious or pick fare [prostitute] on the streets.” “There are a few transsexuals in Guyana who try to make a good living, but because society blocks them from having a good job, a good education, they are forced to go on the street and society is to be blamed to an extent,” Sade said.

She applied for many other jobs, but was never successful and in the end she had to settle for a job as a gardener which she said was very difficult. “That was the only job I could have gotten… and that was hard work, working in the sun, lifting plants and other heavy stuff and it was really difficult.” Eventually she got a job as the Executive Assistant to designer Sonia Noel. Sade said she has found her home, since she has always been into fashion-designing, and working for the fashion diva is a plus. And Noel does not care about her personal life and allows her to be herself; Sade describes her as job the “greatest ever.” It might be a long way from the one she had at one of Macy’s chain of stores, but it is one she plans to hold on to for a very long time. “With Miss Noel it has nothing to do with my sexuality, it is whether I can do with my sexuality, it is whether I can do the job or not,” she said. Speaking about personal relationships, Sade said she has had a few and noted that there are so many people in Guyana who act homophobic but who are bisexual. She is “proud” of her sexuality and whenever she is approached and she is interested she informs the man about it. Now single, Sade said she recently ended a long relationship and that society played a part in its demise.

And while she has had it difficult, Sade said she feels it more for the many cross dressers who have had people throwing bottles at them and some being thrown out of buses because of their sexuality. “I wish people would stop judging and if they don’t understand something they should just not feel threatened by it and leave it alone,” Sade said. Sade feels that once she lives a “decent, respectful life” she would eventually get what she wants in life. “But it is hard with society and trust me I have [gone] through a lot with society,” she said, revealing that she does not take a bus home because she is afraid she might be attacked by someone who recognizes her for who she is. She does not go to certain places either because she is afraid of being attacked, as she has a friend who was attacked for cross dressing. She has had those occasions where persons insulted her because of sexuality but those are experiences she wishes to forget about and move on. And while she is not sure what consequences she might suffer for publicly declaring who she is, Sade said she felt the urge to speak out because Guyanese need to become more understanding.

“It is hard and sometimes you feel really trapped because you can’t do certain things and you just can’t enjoy your life… and the hurtful thing about it is that the same guy who would to say fire bun and all those kinds of stuff those are the ones who are really into it [having relations with other men],” she said For her part she hopes that one day Guyanese society would become more understanding towards people like her because everyone is human.
Tags: NewspaperStabroek NewsTransgenderLGBT Rights


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