- North Africa
Randa: A transsexual is above all a human being
The Memoirs of Randa the Trans
Randa is an Algerian transsexual. She tells her poignant story in a book, The Memoirs of Randa the Trans, which was recently published in Lebanon, where she is based. Her is the first documented story of an Transgender in Arabic. She spoke with Afrik-News.com about her decision to tell her story in a book.
"Being wholly woman" is a dream that has become reality for Randa, formerly known as Fuad. Based in Lebanon, where she is allowed to take the necessary steps to get a sex-change, Randa fled Algeria in 2009 after she was threatened by Islamists. She tells tell her story in a new book, The Memoirs of Randa the Trans (co-written by Hazem Saghieh, a celebrated Lebanese political journalist).
The book recounts, with startling brutality, the life of the thirty-something year-old Algerian: a troubled childhood, first homosexual experience, suicide attempts, a failed marriage, and, finally, the decision to become a full-fledged woman. The Memoirs of Randa the Trans has taken the Arab literary world by storm. It is the first documented story of an Transgender in Arabic.
Afrik.com: Why did you decide to tell your story in a book?
Randa: The purpose of this book is to let people know that a trans-gender is a perfectly normal person (…) and is above all a human being. I had to put my story in black and white. I wanted this book to serve as a testimony and at the same let out all my pent up emotions. I was too tired of doing it all by myself.
And it so happened that I have a friend whose husband is a writer, Hazem Saghieh. He suggested I write my story, and I accepted. That is how the adventure began. This is the first book to talk about transsexuality in Arabic.
Afrik.com: What has changed in your every day life since you become a transsexual?
Randa: I am at peace with myself. I now live as a woman 24-hour-7. It is true that I have other problems, but above all else, I am myself.
Afrik.com: How far have you gone with the sex change procedure?
Randa: I have two operations en-route; (to remove my) adam’s apple and the final operation, the sex change.
Afrik.com: Why did you leave Algeria? And why Lebanon?
Randa: Simply because I was threatened. Islamist elements gave me a 10 day ultimatum to leave the country. I did not have enough time to go to Europe, because it takes at least 20 days to obtain a Schengen visa. Fortunately, I had friends in Lebanon who helped me get there faster.
Afrik.com: In your book, we understand that you did not feel comfortable as a homosexual, what is being transgender for you?
Randa: I am not seeking to undergo sex-change just for the sake of it. I am a woman trapped in the body of a man. It has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It is a gender issue.
Afrik.com: How are things going with your family?
Randa: I have no contact with my family. My parents and my family completely reject what I am doing. My new family is my friends.
Afrik.com: You are a member of an LGBT association, Helem, which defends the rights of homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender. A word about your activities within the group?
Randa: My duties within the association include helping with medical and psychological steps during a transgender’s transition period. In legal terms, we are also campaigning in order for their sex change to be recognised on official documents.