I want to be accepted as a girl : Mariko, Mcleod’s First Tibetan Trans Woman

I want to be accepted as a girl : Mariko, Mcleod’s First Tibetan Trans Woman


Mariko, 17, was born male but identifies herself as a woman in a man’s body.

She has always felt and behaved like a girl since childhood: her friends were girls and she used to dance wearing girl’s clothes at school functions.

Her father enrolled her in a monastery when she was 9 years old. At 15, while still a monk, she became more confident about her self-identity.

Mariko, who lives in Dharamsala, finally decided to take off her monk’s robe and to be open about her self- identity, to live life as a girl.

Deborah Akers, who is a psychological anthropologist and a visiting scholar at The Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala, interviewed Mariko for the former’s blog: Himalyan Happiness Initiative. In the interview titled: Mariko, Her Story- Mcleod’s First Tibetan Trans Woman, Mariko shares her story of coming out.

She says, “ The first day I went to a teaching at the temple, wearing my robe. Everything was normal. Everyone at the temple nodded their heads at me and showed respect. …The second day however, I put on pants and went to the temple. People were shocked.  After the teaching everyone was looking at me—saying, “Look at her! ” 

In this daring coming out within the Tibetan community, which is still generally considered as conservative, Mariko’s mother stands by her. In the interview Mariko says, Although my father feels uncomfortable with who I am, my mother has given me full support. I dress as a woman, wear make-up and she goes with me to the temple and other places. She even takes pictures of me.” 

Mariko became the talk of the town when she performed a rocking Bollywood dance during Miss Tibet pageant this year in Dharamsala.

 Read the full interview with Mariko @ Deborah Akers’ blog: Himalayanhappinessinitiative.com    
Tibetan language newspaper Bod Kyi Dusbab also covered Mariko’s story, and it has been read over 10,000 times. Read the story here  
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