Thursday, 23 June 2011

"The hell on earth called Russia": One trans woman's story

Authorised anti-gay fascist/orthodox protest in Moscow
By Anton Schteinberg

True story of transsexual girl and her girlfriend from Russia who are desperately seeking after asylum in Europe

[Wrote directly from Skype conversation (originally in Russian) 02.06.2011 19:52:02]

I was born in Arkhangelsk, North-West Russia; in 1975. Call me Kim.

I remember my childhood clearly enough. My mother told me that she and my father separated when I was about 2 years old. She said nothing more about him, except his name only. Soon, she moved out, and my grandmother began to take care of me alone. She treated me good. I had seen my mother very rarely; she lived separately and only visited us some times a year. Unfortunately, grandma died soon, and I did not get any help from mother. The only way I could make money for living, was an individual handicraft, i.e. painting and tattoo art.

As far as I remember myself, I always felt myself trapped in an alien body. I mean I was always sure that I am really a girl, not a boy. I had no any chance for permanent employment, and I had to change places for living often. I mean misunderstanding and even persecution, as from employers as from neighborhood. I could not stay in my native town: no place for living, no job, and constant mobbing. I had no way out except to try a chance to hide my past and begin a new life at elsewhere other place; in spite that actually in Russia people’s rights for freedom of moving are seriously restricted (notorious PROPISKA).

Nevertheless, in 2007 I moved to Murmansk (North Russia) by personal invitation from a tattoo masters’ community. I worked at my place of living, they sent clients to me; I was promised to get a full-time job in a tattoo saloon in future. The same year, I met my present friend and life partner Olga. She came to make a tattoo. The mutual sympathy aroused immediately; and soon we fell in love. Olga was not confused with my transgender problems, and supported me in all.

But, our happiness was not long. The information about my transsexuality spread rapidly. Clients became to refuse my service and I lost the job. The same happened with Olga. We had no money neither to pay a rent for apartment, nor just for living.

Moreover, we were under constant persecution; beaten and insulted many times. Drunken neighbors and their mates were screaming to us ‘FAGS AND DYKES MUST DIE! GET OUT QUEERS!’, flaming our postbox, crushing our windows with stones and empty bottles, and pissing onto our door. Applying to police for protection in Russia is useless at the best and dangerous at worst. Racket and sadism are the favorite and the only occupations of these so-called state authority representatives. Imagine: if even ordinary Russian citizens are afraid of police more than of criminals, what could happen with us at a very first police station we could come, or, much worse, be taken to. Finally it happened just nearly so, I’ll tell this below.

All attempts to find a permanent legal job failed: when ‘men upstairs’ discovered my gender identity and our relations, troubles repeated and went on. E.g., in 2008 Olga succeeded to find a job of a saleswoman. 4 month later, her boss discovered everything and began to treat her as an animal, including sex harassment. Finally, when he tried to rape her openly, she had to retire. As for me, I got only refuses elsewhere, because my appearance does not conform to IDs. You see: female appearance and male documents!

In autumn 2008, we found ourselves unemployed and homeless. We decided to try our fortune in a Moscow company that announced a job of waitress, hostess, maitre, and similar, in a VIP night club opening soon. They also promised a residential place for the people from outside of Moscow. We decided to apply for job there; at all, we were living in real poverty.

In Moscow, a company driver met us at the railway station, and brought us to an office. The company was named FORBES CLUB; its office was at the center of Moscow, near Federal Security Service (former KGB) building. A man who met us said that he is the HR manager. He took our IDs (to arrange contracts, as he said), and asked us to leave a room for ten minutes. Then he called us back and offered to look on our new place of living. Of course, we agreed joyfully. By the way: when the manager looked at my ID, he asked, am I male or female. I told the truth that I am a transsexual woman going to make sex reassignment surgery, and he said ‘no problem’. The mentioned already driver took us to a large private house. It was somewhere in Moscow suburbs; we cannot point exactly where: it was late evening, we were on the way for about 2 hours, and we are not familiar with Moscow city and district at all. Inside of the house there were a lot of long tangled corridors and closed doors. The entry was guarded by some armed sporty men in paramilitary dress.

Two of them led us to a large room where we got an explanation that we will stay here and be used as prostitutes. Of course, we refused. Then, they began to beat us, and made us to sign something like contract, we could not read it. After this, they took all we had, except dress, and put us into to a cellar where many girls were. It appeared that the same happened with all of them.

That is how we situated in the underground brothel we had to stay from October 2008 till January 2009. We and the other girls were used as prostitutes. The clients were mostly police and FSS officers, sometimes even uniformed, usually drunk and/or narcotized. They were not only enforcing us for sex, but beating, mobbing, and torturing, just for fun. The so-called guards were doing the same. Making a girl to eat faeces out of a toilet bowl was the one of the most innocent tricks. Also, an amusement called ‘candlestick’ was very popular: two bricks were laid on narrow edges, and a naked girl was made to stand on them and hold candles. Usually the guards were taking four girls and installing the ones by corners. Then, leading gangsters had a dinner and business conversations with their partners from police and federal security service, and, upon completion, Caligula style orgies, usually all night long. A poor candlestick girl falling down was subject of sadistic punishment, depending only from fantasy of ‘masters’. Some of unhappy martyrs disappeared forever. I cannot even speak about such games as ‘submarine’, ‘helicopter’, ‘phone’… Nightmares still pursue me, and it will be so through all my life…

In January 2009, I refused to serve a client because I was feeling bad after thrashing by a previous beast. The guard punched me and I fell down. Olga tried to help me, and the sadists began to bash her so terribly as never before, by shoes and rubber sticks. One of the butchers used a shocker. When Olga was faint and I could not even move, their boss commanded: STOP DON’T SPOIL MEAT. He ordered to bring us to a doctor. Two gangsters put us into handcuffs, placed in a rear compartment of a large jeep, and took somewhere. When the car stopped, Olga was conscious already, but we both simulated swoon. The bandits left the car (as they were talking to each other, to make a deal with the doctor special for such cases) and went somewhere; they decided that faint and cuffed victims cannot escape and disappear. I succeeded to open the rear door, and we crawled under the car and other cars through bushes away…away, no difference what way, only as far as possible from this hell…

We could leave Moscow by hitchhiking only. At Moscow circular road, a trucker heading to North picked us. He helped us to get rid of handcuffs, gave us some food and provided medical assistance as he could. God bless you, Vasil!

In three days, we were at Murmansk. Olga was very sick; she could not even move, talk, and eat. At the hospital it appeared that she has multiple fractures of facial and jaw bones. We were afraid to tell truly who was such a beast, and said there were unknown street hooligans. We had an experience already that police never pay attention to such matters; they even refuse to receive applications and register crimes.

When we got rather well, I returned to painting and tattoo, and Olga worked in retail sales (of course, for cash, i.e. illegally).

In June 2009, I made my first sex reassignment surgery. It is not enough to become and feel myself a full-fledged woman, but I am sure I am on the right way.

At the beginning of 2010, we appeared to be discovered by the gangsters we run from (you remember, they took our IDs). A boy came to the shop where Olga worked, and said that he has a message for us: either we will come to a mentioned place immediately, or NOBODY WILL FIND YOU TWO ON THE SURFACE OF THIS LAND. It’s easy to guess that we knew already about mutually beneficial business between criminal and police in Russia. We hided in empty house assigned for demolition. When Olga went out to find something for eating, she was seized by a group of aggressive men. She understood who they were, and what will happen. Desperately, she cut her veins. The gang threw her off in blood and ran away.

Same day, we left Murmansk by hitchhiking.

Next day, we crossed a state border of the hell on earth called Russia, in order to seek after asylum in Europe.

The alternative is suicide only.

Help us.

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  1. Please remember that there are countiries non-islamic that persecute and quite neglect oppression and discrimination toward transsexuals. I also an one of them and please do not give up, Kim. And I hope your success of seeking asylum.

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