Sultan Hadaddeen also known as Queen Sultan on social media, is a 17-year-old activist and influencer in Norway. According to one of her TikTok videos, she came out as transgender at the age of 11. Since then, she has faced a lot of criticism.
We have heard about the inequality women face every day in our society, however, how much do we know about the discrimination towards transgender women? Norway is said to be one of the top three most equal places in the world. How much does this apply to Sultan and all the other transgender women?
Beat Sexism Norway and Sultan held a small interview where she talked about her life as a transgender woman in this country.
- What is your name and what are your pronouns?
My name is Sultan Hadaddeen but I’m known as Queen Sultan. I’m a trans woman and I use she/her pronouns.
- What are your thoughts on feminism?
I think feminism is a very important movement that is needed in today’s world and environment. There is a lack of equality, and I think this is the right thing to get the world to realize that we are all equal human beings, regarding our gender.
- How do you feel about feminism in Norway?
I feel like Norway has an okay equality rate compared to other countries, however I still see that there is a lot of work to be done, a lot of holes especially for the non-binary and not cis women. The lack of protection there is sickening, also human rights and laws. There is a lot to work on to make the country a safer and better place for everyone who doesn’t fit in the “manly world”.
- How would you describe your experience with inequality?
Very bad. I barely face any equality, both, on the internet as an artist and influencer, and in real life. A lot of hateful and transphobic and sexist comments. Whether it is looks, laughing at me or calling me slurs and being transphobic in my comment section. Even my family and others close members in my life have been very unequal with me, so my experience with inequality is horrible.
- Is there any particular reaction/comment that you receive very often?
I usually get comments about being a transgender woman and a woman in general, a lot of hate and discrimination about me not being cis. Everything from transphobic slurs, to calling me ugly, fat, to even saying that I “downgraded” for being a woman.
- Which group of people do you face most discrimination from?
Boys and men in general, many of them from middle eastern background or African and even European. Unbelievable comments from “the boys”.
- What would you say your best reaction is to these comments?
I personally either clap back or just ignore and pretend they never commented, I’m a very self protective person who doesn’t tolerate or like such hateful comments, but there is way too many of them that I don´t have the time and energy to respond. I hate it myself.
- As a transgender woman in Norway, would you say you face more inequality?
Yes, no shade to other women but I personally believe trans women are not accepted as women to start with, to add up the issues of being trans by itself and then being a woman in a man dominated world, it is hard. You lose all your privilege and face a lot of backlash. You face way too much sexism and inequality from men, women and even children. It’s all in the lack of knowledge and transphobic mindset, that’s enough by itself.
- You attend school here in Norway. Does your school accept you?
My school has to accept me because of the laws and human rights, but do they actually do it? Absolutely not. I have not been to school physically since October because of the transphobia and sexism. No one cares, not the principals or even the teachers. The environment is unsafe and bad for people like me, my life got so much harder and worse since this school year that I’m counting down the days till the year is over.
- In the article written about you that you posted on your social media. You talk about being denied permission to use the women’s bathroom. Have you ever experienced this type of discrimination?
Yes. In the start of the school year the principal did not want to allow me in the women’s changing room and wardrobe because of me being transgender, still won’t which is why I have not been to school as well. Very little educated and very much transphobic.
- If you are comfortable with it, would you like to tell us about your story, when you came out and what reaction did you recieve?
I came out at 11 – 12, my parents did not accept it and went on to deny my identity and sexuality. They forced me to live as a bisexual man and not the woman I am. They mentally and physically abused me. Hit me with shoes, sticks, arms, kick me and even made me bleed a few times. Often, I also had to sleep outside because they kicked me out if they saw me wearing makeup or being too “feminine”. Many times, they sexually assaulted me such as my mom would touch my penis and yell at me to cut it off and would say that I am a man and will never be a woman, many times they tried to force me to do stuff to be “a man”. At 15 I came out to the public as a trans woman and that is when they disowned me. I lost my family, friends and society because of being trans. I used to be an active church member and Christian but not anymore. Living the truth feels good now but it came with consequences.
- What do you think our society in Norway needs to improve in order to make the country safer for everyone?
Norway should make a system to educate people starting from kindergarten to older about human equality. Everything from gender, skin color, sexuality, ethnicity etc. Form more laws that are clear and strict, make sure everyone is treated equally in public places, school, work, shopping centers etc. I think it all lays in how the government uses its power and money. We’re in 2021 and still haven gotten as far as we think we have.
- Is there anything you would like to say to our readers, those who face the same struggles as you did and still do?
I would say be yourself 100%. That is my goal and passion. I want to make the world a safer and better place for humans and especially those who need equality. Be comfortable in your own skin and be proud of yourself. You are more than enough, and you should not allow anyone to define you or tell you what to do. You’re a woman, a badass, a boss and own it the way you want to. It is your world and only you can control it, do not let anyone drag you down because YOU do not fit in their world or standards. That is their issue, you are who you are so love and accept yourself for that. That is what I burn for and want to use my voice and platform for. If helping one woman be herself costs me 99 hate comments, then that is a deal for me. That one woman is more than enough.
Prepared by: Beat Sexism Norway