Janus face

“It was them who took her out of the frying pan of homosexuality and put her, with no refuge, into the fire of transsexuality.”

President Ahmadinejad states that homosexuality does not exist in Iran and it is a crime according to the country's laws. What is even more rarely discussed is the perception of transsexuals, and how homosexuals are expected to “solve their problem” by changing their sex. In this short story, Ramesh Safavi effectively describes one day in a transsexual prostitute's life.

June 10 2013 Text: Ramesh Safavi

Wind was twisting in her bones and to keep away the chills, she was tightly squeezing herself. Her high heeled shoes hurt her feet badly and her green lenses hurt her eyes. But wearing them, she could see and look better. She had bought them seeking the absurd dream of seeing green, and now wearing them; she was bought for a higher price. Perhaps…

A woman in a veil passed her by. She mumbled, cursing the big boned girl who was wearing make-up. The woman turned away from her and left her with disgust.

She was waiting in vain for two hours when a car stopped in the dark. She had to concentrate for a few seconds and evaluate the car model, the man's age and his body. However, passage of time could not make her a good psychologist; she was seduced many times by flattering men.

As soon as the man winded his car window down, she reviewed all the man's characteristics quickly. He was an aged, small boned and polite man. He will definitely be a good payer. All she was trying to do was to speak with softer voice; because most men do not like transsexuals! She had been previously beaten up by some of her transsexual clients and had returned without being paid. But at least she was not thinking of their do's and don'ts anymore. It was them who took her out of the frying pan of homosexuality and put her, with no refuge, into the fire of transsexuality. Not long ago, everyone including her teacher, police and doctor had beaten her and had tried to make her understand that transsexuality was a devil characteristic and God would never let such a person in his court. Then, she had preferred God's court because of her religious beliefs.

She was tired of bargaining about the price with the man. So, she was content with 50 000 Tomans and got in the car. She knew that on such a dark midnight, no one, except police, would appear on her way. When thinking of police, contempt, punishment and rape, she started shivering.

The driver asked about her deep voice and she replied, with a pause, that cigarette’s had deteriorated her voice. She lit a cigarette to avoid more talk with the man.

The man's house was messy and cluttered in such a way that she resented herself more than ever. As soon as he started to talk closely, she drew herself back to escape his mouth’s disgusting smell. Before the man could approach her she made an excuse for going to the bathroom. Her heart was beating strongly. She locked the door behind her and hurriedly took a small bottle of alcohol out of her bag and quaffed the whole drink. Then, she carefully applied Lidocaine on her fingers and rubbed it on her vagina under her skirt. She thought: “I hope his penis is small!” Again, she remembered her doctor who was trying to encourage her to change her sex: A completely normal vagina and orgasm! Such lies! A completely imperfect surgery and an ever tight, painful vagina and loss of sexual desire forever were the outcomes.

She was happy that the man was turning the lights off; if her vagina started to bleed, he would not notice anything. Although she was feeling dizzy after drinking alcohol and Lidocaine was acting a little bit, she was agonizing in pain and counting the seconds to end this painful bargain: one, two, three, one hundred and three, three hundred and three … Finished.

The man was not polite anymore and reluctantly threw 8 000 Tomans in front of her:
“You think I'm such a fool not to see that you're a transsexual?”
She picked up the money without uttering a word and found herself in the street again.

After a long while, a taxi stopped and the driver winded the window down. When she said her destination, the driver was surprised by her deep voice. He imitated her voice mockingly and immediately left with round eyes and raised eyebrows.

Something was clutching at her heart. She felt like she was missing home. She missed her mother who was once was so proud of having such a nice boy. She missed her father's metal belt buckle when he found out his son was a homosexual. She missed all those days when she was not forced to be a girl.

She was so naive to miss people who did not accept her as any sex and deprived her from everything.

When she opened the door, the landlady appeared in her way and angrily reminded her of her delayed three-months rent, saying:
“If you don't pay the whole rent this month, I'll kick you out!”
When she took off her tight shoes that, like the whole city, were torturing all her soul, something occurred to her. She rummaged through her medicine bag. There were only three or four pills left.
“Can I get rid of myself with only four pills?”
“Tomorrow! Surely, I will do it tomorrow…”
In the morning, she got up without any foolish thought and said determinedly:
“I'm not going to sell myself anymore!”

She turned to the job vacancy pages of the newspaper as usual and wrote down the useful numbers. She quaffed warm water to have a softer voice and changed her voice in different scales. She dialed the number with trembling hands.
When she said that she was calling for female secretary job vacancy, the person behind the phone line mumbled a curse and hung up the phone. The second one reluctantly said that he has hired the required secretary and the thirteenth one asked:
“Do you know English?”
“Yes.”
“How about the computer?”
“Yes.”
And he made an appointment.

After they found out about her identity, she was dismissed from her last job with no payment. She lost her previous job after three weeks and lost the earlier one in just two days.

And now after this unsuccessful appointment, she was returning in despair and found herself in that usual street again.

Wind was twisting in her bones and to keep away the chills, she was tightly squeezing herself. Her high-heeled shoes hurt her feet badly and her green lenses hurt her eyes…