Nastya's Story

Trying changing yourself is like cutting yourself and shoving a hand into the fire

A pansexual from Uzbekistan - about how she wanted (but could not) please her mom, how she tried (but failed) to build canonical relations with a man and how, finally, she accepted herself

My name is Nastya Tcherepanova, I am 25, I live in Tashkent and I am a pansexual. Since childhood I have the feeling that gender does not exist. I felt absolutely comfortable both with men and women. In adolescence I liked both boys and girls. For me only a person existed, and it did not matter what gender he or she was. I did not understand and do not understand the people's problems related to gender. For example, when someone's behavior is explained by the fact that a person grew up without a father. It's just a man-parent, does it matter what is his gender?

I began to face the difficulties caused by gender later. At the age of 14, it was wildly frustrating that one put labels on me just because I was a girl. For example, one can measure my intelligence based on my large breasts or hair color. Or I was told what I should and what I should not do just because I was a girl. It scared me, I did not understand what was the gag? Everyone around knew something, but I didn't. This was some kind of a game, unpleasant, uncomfortable for me.
Pansexuality
sexual, erotic, romantic and/or emotional attraction to people regardless of biological sex and/or gender identity
Gender
a sociocultural construct of the gender. The gender includes all those characteristics that are formed and developed in a person in the course of socialization, in order to bring his behavior and thinking in accordance with the accepted in a given culture norms, orientations, ideas about the behavior of men and women and other male and female characteristics
OTHER PEOPLE'S DEMONS
At that time at the age of 14 my pansexuality manifested itself for the first time
Unlike bisexuality when a person admits that he may be attracted to people of both genders, pansexuality misses the importance of gender at all. The attraction can be to transgenders, bigenders and other types of gender, it does not matter.

I liked my girlfriend. It was interesting and incomprehensible, and I was scared to discuss with her what was happening. Not every day you are said: "I want to touch your breast so much like a motherfucker." In the end I decided to discuss everything with her. She said: "I do not want to be scared of you, so we will talk." And we were talking: about what exactly I felt, how, when. In the end she admitted that I had sympathy for her and that she couldn't reciprocate it, but she didn't want to lose a friend either. We were in good, trusting relationship. I could tell her: "Now I would kiss you!", and we laughed at it together.

Later I tried picking up one pretty girl from the bar. During a year I couldn't pick her up! I was very stubborn, but the attempt was not successful. However, at that time I myself did not completely understand what was happening to me. I didn't accept myself - I was afraid that acceptance would destroy my social status and my relations with others.

In the first year of art college I had a girlfriend. She was not really a girl, she was a transgender. In communication I call her "he", because that is how she identifies herself.

The fellow students and teachers brought her to a breakdown. Everyone believed that she was sick in the head, a manipulator, inadequate, that she needed to be treated. We started going to psychiatrists, and I am happy that we met very adequate specialists. We passed a lot of tests that confirmed that my girlfriend is transgender, that this a guy in the female body. She was given a permission to make a gender reassignment surgery in Moscow. Only after that the fellow students began to accept and understand her and me. To be true, not all.
Bisexuality
sexual, erotic, romantic and/or emotional attraction to the representatives of both sexes and/or genders, not necessarily equally and not necessarily at the same time
Transgender
a person whose gender identity and/or gender presentation does not correspond to cultural and social expectations associated with sex attributed at birth. The term is used to designate a wide range of gender identities.
Bigenderness
"floating", mobile gender identity. A bigender feels like a man, then a woman, regardless of physical gender. Gender-role self-perception varies depending on the mood, the interlocutor, the environment
When in college I and my girlfriend never walked holding hands, we did not even speak. But some of the students "reported", and we were often called to talk to the director
I had asthma, but when I brought sick leaves, the university management simply tore them. Because of our relationship, the teacher refused me. He made loud statements in the group, said that he would not tolerate this, that this was wrong, this was "uyat" (shame). I was transferred to another group. And when in the former group I was either ignored or supported, then in the new group I became an absolute outcast.

This resulted in such trash that I barely graduated from college. And my girlfriend had to take a study leave because the teachers drove her. Some people considered her a demon only because she did not fit into society. In the first year she dated a girlfriend, and I came out to be her second "victim".
FRIGHTENING INVASION
I have not seen my father since I was three. I have never had a problem with this
On the contrary, I was always surprised that the society imposes on me that I should feel bad without him: so, you have no father, how hard you must be ... But everything was cool. My mom - like any parent - coped somewhere, somewhere not.

My mom is wonderful, "my" person. I have always felt good with her, and our relationships were trusting. I shared everything, any experience, not even counting on understanding - just made her know what was happening to me. And I decided to tell her about my relationship with the girl. I wanted to make her happy - look, Mom, what happiness I have!

In return I received tears and hysterics. It turned out more important for the mom that my partner had a cock. She drove my girlfriend out of the house, forbade to see each other. And she said to me: "If you do not part with her, I will hang myself." She didn't accept her to the last, until, two years later, we broke up.
At that time I lost many friends and acquaintances. People like putting labels, and I often heard something like: "Oh, that is why she is so man-like - she turns out to love women." Or: "Oh, that's why all her friends are faggots." This was discussed behind my back, no one told to my face what he was thinking.

Most recently, my orientation re-emerged in the conversation with my mother. I thought: so much time has passed, she accepted me after all, changed her world view. I hoped that over the years people gain experience, analyze life, grow wiser.
But from the point of my mom's view I had to take some measures, because it was "not mine", it was teenage, all girls have it, and then it passes
This really scared me. Being 25 I discovered that another person might think that he had the right to manage someone's life. This is a huge hairy hand that is sure that it can intrude into my life, change something, throw it away, pick it up and do how it wants.
SOMEWHERE ON THE SIDE AND BEHIND
After I parted with my first girlfriend, I shut down
When you are prevented from living just because you meet with someone, this messes much. I felt like a representative of a very strange stratum of society - somewhere on the side and behind. Because everybody around is normal and beautiful, they are put on the front shelf, and you are pushed away.

Then I had relationships with an abuser guy. They were ordinary, canonical. He had a standard position: I am an earner, and you are a keeper of the hearth. It annoyed me when, for example, he did not want to cook when I was at home, although he could do this. These strange things made me puzzled. He put pressure on me and manipulated well, skillfully devalued me. It was fun, of course, but it's a terrible experience.

At 22 I began realizing that everything was going wrong and I seemed to be moving backwards all the time. I tried to correct myself, to be "like everyone else", to meet the expectations of my mom and society. I understood: it's like cutting yourself and shoving a hand into the fire to heal a wound. It seems to me that at that time I finally began to accept my pansexuality.
Abuse
conscious or unconscious use of violence (usually psychological, but also physical, sexual, economic, etc.) over the loved one
The more often I conducted dialogues with myself, the more I understood: it is not me who is not right, but my environment is not right. This is not me who is abnormal, but the people are morons. People who spoiled our studies - although we studied very well! - and condemned us, believing that we are spoiled. It is not we who are abnormal, but the attitude towards us is abnormal. And we should change this attitude, but not us.

It was a pleasant and turning point when I began trusting myself, surrounding people, people close to me, to get acquainted with those who understand me, who will not put pressure on me and say that this will pass, that this is a puberty and "this is because you had no normal guy".

Of course, the Internet helped - a huge number of groups in Vkontakte, discussions on fem-community forums explaining that all this is adequate, this is permitted, this is your choice, and society shouldn't worry at all with whom you sleep and live. My friend, with whom I "got out" my feelings and emotions, analyzed them also helped.
Feminism
a spectrum of ideologies, political and social movements aimed at achieving equality of political, economic, personal and social rights for women or overcoming sexism.
Now I can have relationships with both men and women. They differ only in that it is difficult to find a normal man
A serious problem in masculinity is that when people try to forcibly cultivate it in themselves, they seem to get dumber a little. They need not to think, but to show strength, power, control. There is not enough space for the brain. Only for this reason it is more difficult with guys - I want that my man is not to be afraid to feel, and for some reason the ability to feel is considered in society to be a feminine quality.
Masculinity
a complex of physical, mental and behavioral characteristics that are considered male
Femininity
a complex of physical, mental and behavioral characteristics which are considered female
LITTLE PARADISE
In Tashkent I rarely feel comfortable
And I don't want to have a girlfriend here - there are still triggers. Perhaps that is why now I have relationships with a guy, and they are at the distance - it is absolutely safe. He has experience with both sexes, so I feel comfortable with him.

The situation with the "tema" has become easier, the attitude became more neutral, but the conflicts still. Once we were with the friends in a bar, our friend came up to us and asked us to leave as quickly as possible, because he had urgent business. We did not understand what was the matter, but agreed. When we caught a taxi, he told how a company of guys at the next table was discussing us and was seriously going to beat us because we were gays and lesbians.
Trigger
In psychology — an event that causes a person to suddenly experience psychological trauma
"Tema"
сolloquial, allegorical designation of LGBT + and belonging to the LGBT community in Russia and the CIS countries.
That is why my friends tell about their preferences and attitudes only to those whom they really trust. When a new person appears in a company, we don't trust him by default.

It is very strange and funny that even among open gays homophobes may be found. They have some "boderline," and they begin thinking that someone is "more gay" than it is necessary. Of course, this homophobia differs from heterosexual. Homophobic gay just makes clear that "you embarrass us with your behavior," and the homophobic heterosexual is angry and afraid of what is living in him. These people are not so simple inside, somewhere there lives own "little gay", he was simply not brought up.

The situation with homophobia, of course, scares. When I asked one of my friends (now the former) whether he had heard about what was going on in Chechnya (she is about murders and tortures of gays – ed.note), he said that he had heard and he would go himself to kill them all. That day we stopped communicating.
Homophobia
irrational fear of homosexual thoughts, feelings, behavior and people, hostility towards homosexual people. Lesbian-, trans-, and biphobia are defined in the same way
Heterosexuality
sexual, erotic, romantic and/or emotional attraction to the members of the opposite sex or/and gender
Killings in Chechnya
This refers to the killings and tortures of LGBT-community members in Chechen Republic.
I am scared of people who want to kill someone just because his orientation is "wrong". I do not even enter into polemics with such people. The most dangerous fight is a fight with an idiot, you cannot figure out his moves
We often spend time with the guys who earlier lived in Almaty, but gradually moved to Tashkent. Some live with me sometimes. They are all pretty "tuned in", and the life next to them is little paradise. We have some kind of a small commune, where everyone absolutely does not care what gender you are, but what is important is what you want.

All desires are taken into account, without any bias. Everything is discussed in detail and occurs by mutual agreement. And our concept of sex is very adequate. In heterosexual relationships fear of undressing exists because it means something. Even if your strap falls or the dress slips up this is indecent. And in our commune you can swim naked, and it is not vulgarly, not dirty and not sexy. You are not trying to seduce anyone with your loins and nobody is trying to seduce you.
In our society I feel myself "different" in the good sense of the word. For me there is only a man and some features peculiar to him, nothing more. And often I can understand how particular things that are peculiar to this particular person are really him or is it just a shell that he "pulls" under the pressure of society. I see in people not a set of stereotypes about who they should be. I see who they really are.
Text: Darina Solod. Photo: Zarina Milibayeva. Translation into English: Irina Galina. Translation into Uzbek: Zhavokhir Ochilov. Editing: Anastasiia Sechina
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