This change gives non-binary people visibility, validates us, and shows society that we are not living in confusion. It is an identity all its own. We resist, we exist, and we are people who have family, work, and everyday life.
From the moment I chose to be Mara, I began to suffer violence and bullying from society. I was singled out, criticized, questioned, and discriminated against at school, on the street, and in my everyday life.
Not taking antiretroviral medicines means I have given HIV the chance to multiply the deadly virus in my body and further weaken my immunity.
On May 23, a man beat me up and yelled homophobic slurs at my wife and me. The situation quickly turned life-threatening, and all I could do was hope I would not die.
In our community, you are either a man or a woman. I grew up as a man due to my community’s expectations and having been born in the 70s, a time when no one knew about intersex people. I was therefore forced to live and act like a man.
I was teased, scorned, and labeled. I was bullied and humiliated in public. My 'friends' reacted in the only way they were taught to: with disgust.
My family and neighbors broke the door to my house with anger, entered, and started beating and stoning us.
This year, like every year since 2013, police broke up Istanbul's Pride Parade. And like every year, I was there to protest anyway.