I Escaped Female Genital Mutilation

I Escaped Female Genital Mutilation

[Trigger warning: The story below addresses the very real violent experiences that our Trans siblings across Africa have been faced with. This story is emotionally intense and at times, graphic. We urge you to put any discomfort you have into action so that no one is subjected to these injustices again.]


Article written by a community author living in Kenya, named N*

Hi, my name is N*. I remember exactly how it was when we left South Sudan due to wars in 2013 and I was 9 years. When we got to Kenya, I finished my primary education here and joined high school. 

I have been in a single-sex school since my high school education started. That’s when I realized that my sexual feelings and attachment were so much in my fellow girls rather than boys. I identify as a non-binary queer South Sudanese person living in Kenya right now as a refugee. 

Unfortunately, 1 year ago in March 2023, one of my closest friends outed me to my family members. I had kept a low profile and none of my family members knew about my sexuality for some years. They got so mad at me after knowing of my gender identity, they punished me and outed me to the rest of the entire South Sudanese community in the camp.

 This put my life at risk. I got a lot of hate speech and most of them were suggesting I should be killed. They tied me up with ropes and made me walk all over the camp, setting me as a bad example to other girls. They were calling me all sorts of names and some of them were beating me as a mob. The police luckily appeared and they dispersed a group of people that had gathered. 

They walked me to the fields where they were to practice Female Genital Mutilation in public (I had refused this practice some long time ago when I was getting into my teenage years) and then stoned me nearly to death. My sisters and brothers helped me escape too in the dispersed mob and I got to town. In much fear, I had no one to trust at that moment and nowhere I could feel safe. 

I immediately got a bus to another area to hide for some time. I had a few fellow South Sudanese friends there. When I reached the town, they had already been told what had happened in the camp and none of them were allowed to host me. I felt more unsafe and I continued my way to Nairobi. I stayed with a Kenyan friend who was once my partner. 

Her financial status wasn’t good to allow me to keep staying with her, so, I had to go back to the camp after staying together for 1 year. I sneaked back to the camp where I am living right now, in a certain place where I can’t move freely, work freely, stay safe, or trust everyone around me.

 I decided to come back here because at least, I get free shelter and water other than in any other place though my safety isn’t good at all. Right now, I am stuck, I have nowhere I can run to. I am caught up here and I am worried what will happen if anyone notices that I came back to the camp. 

My life is at risk and I have faced enough. In this Pride month as we are reflecting, empowering and uniting, I call on the whole Transgender community to reflect on what it means for us to get displaced and survive through such dehumanizing practices like FGM. 

Let’s empower each other because it’s not sweet everywhere. Then lastly, all we need to do is to stand in solidarity and unity from all parts of the world to resist such persecutions. We are all potential victims but we are all potentially empowered to condemn and bring a stop to this.


If you’d like to join us in building power for community members like N* who are living in Africa, please visit our TEP Africa group page. 

Safety Exit