By Arop Daniel, VOF
TORIT: Friday 06th of August 2021 was a day of excruciating bizarre in South Sudan’s Magwi County in the Eastern Equatoria. The community of this area mostly comprising of the ethnic Luo speakers woke up to a dawn of dilemma after 19 year old trans-man has reportedly eloped with a teenage girl from Palwar area within the county to Obbo Payam also within the county.
Bismark Paul (named after transitioning) was formally known as Beatrice Achayo and identified by a female sex organ at birth. But the story has since changed after reports alleged he eloped with Aber, a 16 year old girl. The two were reportedly living as spouses.
It is a tradition in the majority Equatoria region of the South Sudanese people that marriage between low income communities involves eloping of the two spouses before declaration of their status. However, for Bismark the story seems to have turned into nightmare as his transitioning from the female to male sex becomes the issue to seek redress for.
Stunned Members of the community alongside religious leaders attribute the sudden change in sex organs to godly incarnation in disguise. But according to Bismark who was formally a player in the females’ 2020-2021 inter-payam league, it was at age 12 when she started to experience weird hormonal changes.
His first move was when he decided to change his name to Bismark Paul in a school during his enrolment. The head teacher of the school was surprised to have learned of the transition. The astonished Okeny Julius recalls his moment with the transformed during the tournament when she played among girls.
According to national center for transgender equality, victims of transgender are prone to distress, abuse and violence, bullying at school or even denied access to critical medical care. Bismark was coiled with fear in his attempt to reveal his identity. He recalls considering suicide in a bid to escape this transgender ordeal.
The victim hails from the defunct Owinykibul Payam, a village at the South Western part of the state, attached to the Ugandan border. Back home his biological parents are not aware of his change of status. But his uncle Michael Obany believes the transformation in the young fella began when Beatrice was 12 when her vocal cord started to change. This was the same time she started avoiding communal bath with her friends.
The man is currently in police custody on charges related to absconding with a teenage girl. The rumor of the duo living as couple was a surprise to the parent of the girl. Her father knew the two for sharing the same room as girls. But 1st of August, the two disappeared and were found sheltered as couples in Obbo, about 50km from their parents. This prompted her parents to alert police in the area, who later intercepted Paul.
Police in the area however confirmed the victim as male.
Transgender people are people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were thought to be at birth. According to National Centre for transgender equality, transgender people come from every region around the world, from every racial and ethnic background, and from every faith community. There are about 1.4 transgender adults in the United States and millions more across the world.