Digital Transgender Archive

Interview with Nasreen Mohamed

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Nasreen Mohamed identifies as gender non-conforming more towards the male side and was assigned female at birth. Mohamed prefers being referred to by name over the use of pronouns. Mohamed grew up in Tanzania, East Africa until 19 and is of South Asian descent. Mohamed grew up in a South Asian religious community called Ismaili Muslims, which is part of the Shia sect and is led by the Aga Khan. A major stressor in school for Mohamed was the intense academic pressure to perform academically, being publicly ranked in comparison to other students. As a child, Mohamed identified as a boy. Mohamed’s mom was accepting of it but Mohamed still, resentfully, wore a dress to the mosque. Mohamed could sit on the male side as well in the mosque. A couple of aunts, unsure of and confused by Mohamed’s sex while hiking on a path, pulled off Mohamed’s clothes to check. Mohamed felt bizarre and violated by what happened, and it’s a painful memory. After beginning to menstruate, Mohamed was devastated and didn’t want to be a woman. Mohamed defied womanhood by continuing to wear shorts and male clothing except at school where girls were required to wear a skirt. Experiencing domestic violence in the home, Mohamed was kicked out and went to live with another family where conforming as a girl was enforced. Mohamed came out as a lesbian after coming to the U.S. to live in Minnesota on a student visa but began to feel uncomfortable, body and presentation wise. Geographically and gender wise, Mohamed lives in “this in-between world of negotiating… space” in community and culture, seeing things “in complexity, in multiple frames” due to Mohamed’s African, South Asian, Muslim, and immigrant sides and Mohamed’s complex relationship with gender. Mohamed hasn’t faced judgment or alienation due to gender from extended family who are supportive. Mohamed’s dad cut off paying tuition to prevent Mohamed from going to school, however. As a result, Mohamed violated the student visa and was undocumented for 4 years. Mohamed is currently single but co-parents two adopted black kids who are siblings of each other. Mohamed was on the board of directors for PFund.

Item Information:

Identifier
4t64gn387
Collection
Oral Histories with People of Color
Institution
Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection, University of Minnesota
Creator(s)
Mohamed, Nasreen
Contributor(s)
Jenkins, Andrea
Publisher
University of Minnesota Minneapolis Libraries
Date Created
Jun. 14, 2016
Genre
Oral Histories
Transcriptions
Places
Minnesota > Hennepin County > City of Minneapolis > Minneapolis
Tanzania
Topic(s)
Acceptance
Adoption
Bathrooms
Clothing
Colonization
Coming out
Discrimination
Emigration and immigration
Faith
Gender diversity
Gender identity
Government policy
Homophobia
Intersectionality (Sociology)
Islam--Customs and practices
Islamophobia
Lesbian identity
Mass shootings
Muslims
Parenthood
Puberty
Relationships (LGBTQ)
Religions
Sexuality
Social justice
Student passports
Resource Type
Moving image
Text
Language
English
Related URL
https://umedia.lib.umn.edu/
Rights
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