“Coming out as a trans man was a life-saving experience for me.” —Umit
In Bangladesh where I grew up, trans people like me were outcasts—completely invisible in society.
That’s why I’m filled with joy when I see trans people celebrated here in the U.S. And now that I have asylum, I can be part of that celebration.
I hope that by sharing the story of my journey to the U.S., I can let other trans and queer people know that there is hope.
When I was young, my mother punished me for not “behaving like a girl.” I liked sports, playing with toy cars, and I dressed like a boy. I remember leaving my home in the morning wearing feminine clothes and changing into masculine clothes when I got to school.
I felt different from my peers—from how I dressed to who I was attracted to. I fell in love with another girl, and I knew I had to keep my relationship with her private.
When I was in college, my parents found out about my lesbian relationship and forced me out of my home. I moved in with my partner in the city. Our neighbors there would throw stones at us.
On my way home from work one night, a group of men grabbed me off the side of the road, put me in a van, and sexually assaulted me to “teach me a lesson that I am not a man”. I barely escaped the attack, and it left me severely traumatized for years.
I knew that I needed to escape and find a safe place to heal.
After nearly seven years of harassment and assault from my community, I was offered a path to safety—an invitation to come to the United States and live with my aunt. I was told by my family that If I went, I could no longer be attracted to women and I had to dress “like a girl”.
In 2013, I finally arrived in the United States with a glimmer of hope. I started researching clinics that would assist me in my transition. Once my family found out, I was forced to go back to Bangladesh.
By 2014, I was already back in the U.S., and the moment I arrived, I started transitioning. I wanted to live my truth.
I also came across Immigration Equality who helped me win my asylum case in 2017!
Coming out as a trans man was a life-saving experience for me.
I never thought I would be able to experience being my true, authentic self. Now I feel more aligned with my gender expression, I changed my legal name, and I am given the respect and dignity I deserve as a trans person.
I currently work at the New York City Office of Technology and Innovation where I hope to start a full-time career in tech!
My life feels full of joy.