Rami: “When I applied for a job, I was rejected because they don’t hire gays!”
A boy was born in a small family and was named Rami. He is the second youngest in his family. Today, Rami refuses to use his real name and decides to be called Ramiolla. Ramiolla is the name he chose when he was five. That is when he refused his masculinity and started leading the life of a girl where he found himself, and ever since he started being bullied and ridiculed.
Rami has been traumatized all his life. He did not have a pleasant childhood. At school, he vividly remembers how his teacher would compare him to “girls”. He never lived in peace and never had any friends. Even his classmates called him “Rania”. At home, he never expected that his life will become a living hell as his family tortured him because “he does not act like a man”. His parents even tried to change him, but to no avail. Being conservative and belonging to an extremist party, they unfortunately rejected Rami’s reality and ridiculed him whenever they had the chance and in front of everyone. He was verbally and physically abused: sometimes his dad would beat him up; other times his uncle and his cousins would scold him. They considered him aberrant and preferred to see him die rather than live with them.
Rami did not finish his studies and his dream was to become a fashion designer. He failed because his family gave up on him. He was always bullied and marginalized.
As if that was not enough, three years ago, Rami was diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma. Still, no one sympathized with him except his mother who cared for him in secret. He lived with his family but did not wish to live a lie. He wanted to stop hiding from his surroundings and do whatever and dress however he pleased but his family did not accept that and threw him out of the house. At that time, he was undergoing chemotherapy. He was homeless and many times after his treatment, he slept on the streets.
For years, Rami has been unemployed because of his gender identity and sexual orientation. Every time he applied for a job, he was bullied and ridiculed due to his physical appearance. What shocked him the most was when he applied for a job at one of the ministries. Their response was, “we do not hire gays”.
Today, he is taking care of an old bedridden man in return for shelter. “Anyone else would have committed suicide”, Rami said.
“I feel very proud because I beat cancer. However, I am extremely disappointed because I cannot find a job that would respect my rights, a job where I am not bullied and discriminated.
And most importantly, I want to emigrate to a country that upholds my rights in both society and the workplace. Why stay in a country where it is impossible for me to achieve the simplest of my dreams, to become a professional fashion designer, just because just because I have a non-conforming gender identity?
I have always been honest with myself and about disclosing my identity. I am not asking for much except respecting me as I am. I wish to travel to a country where I can freely express my sexual orientation and gender identity and where the law preserves all my rights.
I can wait no longer. I would do everything to leave as I can no longer bear the legal and social challenges anymore!”, Rami added.
I just wish I could obtain new identification papers and to get rid of the name “Rami” and become Ramiolla.
This story was documented as part of the “Enhancing the Inclusivity of the LGBTI community in Workplaces in Lebanon” project funded by the European Union and executed by SIDC in partnership with ACTED.