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They wanted as much son as their daughter to live as a boy

Sanjoor, Afghanistan At first glance, 13-year-old Mangal Carrimi can be any boy living in a small village in West Afghan, which keeps firewood and feed the livestock on his father's farm. between the duties – a light figure in light white coaches who spend jugs of water through barren fields. Within two years, Mangal is Madina, one of the seven daughters chosen by her parents to live as an Afghan-language guy tradition called "bacha posh," a term from Dari, who translates as "dressed as a boy."

While Mangal can remember, he pulls his long hair under a woolen hat, pulls his jacket and trousers and helps his father look for his wheat and his dairy farm in the snow-capped village of Sanjor in the province of Herat.

Girls are bred believing that they are a burden on the family, said Sodama Erai, editor-in-chief of the Afghan Women's Information Agency (AWNA). ) who interviewed several parents of Bansa Poch Chil Dren. Women "can not earn money to support their families, they can not live on their own ̵
1; and so many reasons (like that) lead them into this patriarchal society to practice chic," she said. the discrimination faced by Afghan girls, literally from the moment they are born. After all, "no one who has only sons turns them into a daughter," says Hashimi. – something that does not always come easily.

At the root of the custom lies the superstition that the bitch chic child will "turn the hand of fate so that the next child born in the family will be a boy," says Hashimi Mangal's father, Khoda Bakhsh Karimy, told CNN, that if the family has a son, the child will return to a girl. Until then or when Mangal struck puberty, Hoda and his wife, Amena Karimi, are "happy" with Mangal and the responsibilities she performs such as "welcoming guests to our home and offering tea or meals."

"I Made My Daughter Like A Boy"

After having two girls, Mangal's parents longed for a son. "We did it as a son to help our father," said Mother Amena.

"I made my daughter as a boy serve me food and water when I work in the wilderness," Father Hoda said.

In Dari's tongue there are no pronouns of sex "he" and "she". But Mangal told CNN he prefers to be mentioned by his male identity – and the English equivalent "he". Meanwhile, his parents believe that Mangal's sex at birth – females – remains unchanged. The English translation of their conversation uses the word "she".

Mangal is a valuable extra pair of hands for the nine families who earn about 6,000 Afghans (about $ 80) per month – even scarce even under Afghan standards.

  Karimy (far right) depicted with the rest of the family in Afghanistan.

"I love all my daughters, but I love Madina more because I ask her to work as" to take care of livestock "or" to bring something to a neighbor, "says Hoda. – Otherwise, there is no difference between them. The author says that Afghanistan's love for sons has practical roots. In this agricultural economy, the boys who break down the wood process the field, travel alone and work outside their home, she says. And when they get married, their wives – and the next generation of children – are swallowed up in the family.

For girls this is a totally different story. The daughter is expected to be "modest" and "help with homework," says Hashimi. Outside of the house, a girl "shopping on the market" or "seeing adults in the eyes" will come as a shock to some people, she adds.

For parents without a son, Bacha Pash is a solution to these obstacles, crossing the socio-economic lines. Practice data is scarce, but Hashimi says that almost every international Afghan who interviewed her book knew the bacha child, regardless of region or class.

Sitting with his father in their ordinary mud house, the quiet brazier keeps his answers brief. With a shy, quick smile, he says he loves to be a boy and prefers to be called "he" by the English pronoun.

But, he adds, "I would like to go back to a girl when I grow up."

When he does not help the farm, Mangal says he likes to play football with other boys in the village where he is the only kid

His father, Hoda, says his neighbors were accepting Mangal, only telling him that the child "should wear the girl's clothes when he grew up."

To which Hoda replied, "Of course."

people realize that the child is actually a girl dressed as a boy, "they somehow agree with him," Hashimi explains. "There is such an understanding that a family it uses this loophole to bypass this emptiness, try to fix its family and have it

  Carrie teaches at home

Mangal occupies a blurred space between a daughter and a son. When he is not working at the farm, he attends a girls' school with four of his sisters. But he makes him dressed like a boy and is known for his masculine name. "No, I do not consider him a son," says Hoda. "We know she is a girl, she must wear a girl's clothes in the future and marry someone."

Every family has their own bite for bats. Journalist Earyy said some parents told her that "they are trying to hide or do not want to show others that they have a daughter." The son is a source of pride, and "having a daughter is a shame," they said. Other parents said they desperately wanted their daughters to have "achievements". But in a society where "everything is just for men," Bacha Pash is the only way "their daughters to live in freedom," Ewary said. Their garments may be different, but the inequality remains, Eari said. "This is an injustice against women that they can not be themselves and live freely as a woman."

"There were so many advantages and disadvantages"

Making the transition to life as a girl – especially after a brief review of male freedoms – can be a painful process.

Shazia, who does not want her surname to be published, is nine years old and lives in Kabul in 1990 when her parents decided to transfer her to Bacha for five years. Two older brothers went to Russia to avoid preparing them. But when her father, a middle-class businessman engaged in import and export, lost her leg in an accident, her mother and the other six daughters were out of bread.

"Then my family decided to dress like a boy," says Shazia, who, like her third daughter, was considered old enough to help her mother out of the home – but still young enough to go for son, "says Shazia, who went with the male name of Mirvas and was forced to cut off her hair and wear boys' clothes.

  Cluster of brick houses where Karimi lives.

Practically, Shazia's daily duties have changed dramatically – from "cleaning and feeding chickens" to "accompanying my mother to the local market." Sometimes Shazia would even get groceries, something she described as "a huge undertaking, especially for a young girl."

"There were so many advantages and disadvantages to being chic," says Shazia, a 37-year-old old mother of three daughters working for a female nongovernmental organization in the United States. girl in Afghanistan, "Shazzi told CNN on the phone from her home in New York. "During the harsh winter I will have to stay in line and get bread to feed my family," says Shazia. "I was jealous of my sisters in the house, warm."

While the immediate family knew the true identity of Shazia, the wider neighborhood was Not aware, and it describes the tortures of "playing two different roles in society ".

"I'm particularly uncertain about my facial features, my clothes, growth compared to boys of my age," she says. "This imposed lifestyle was not my choice, I was stuck between a girl and a boy." Hashimi says that this gender transition "essentially imposes a crisis on the identity of a young psyche." She says the bacha posh tradition can cause "dysphoric sex" where children "simply do not get satisfied with their biological sex and feel as if they belong in a different world." the old sisters interfered, telling the family that it was enough.

"My sister was really, very difficult," says Shazia. "She defeated me, she threw out all my men's clothes, she said," You must become a girl. "

The parents of Shasi agreed and gradually emerged in the world as a girl, initially afraid to go" outside because the neighbors they will see me, "and" dressed in a big scarf until I've grown my hair long enough. "But years of childhood, or male identity," left me confused for my identity, "she says

Bittersweet Return to Girls

– says Hashimi. "This is an attempt on what it is like to be on the other side in a country where these two countries are remarkably different. "In extreme cases, she says, they may even refuse to return to life as women

With so little available data, it is difficult to tell whether or not the practice is declining. But Hashimi thinks that the "shocks" will eventually disappear while Afghan society continues to strengthen the situation of women in society

In recent years, the Taliban has strengthened its power over Afghanistan – between 60% and 70% of the country is now disputed or under its control. While the Islamist militant group is based, gender inequality – and the need for batch-chic – will continue, Hashimi said.
Every year, the women's group for women in Afghanistan supports at least two cases of women in women's shelters. across the country. Girls between 14 and 18 years of age "are not in a stable emotional, mental and financial state," said the executive director of the group, Nasja Nassim.

Many of them are targeted at police shelters. Girls are usually friends with boys and have more freedom, Nassim said. She added that they "are often misused" by people who make them "dancing, drinking and (engaging in) sexual activities." Nassim said. With the help of mediators and mental health services, they can also be reintegrated into their families, she added.

CNN contacted the Afghan government to comment on its position on the batch, but did not get an answer.

  Karimi (extreme right) is the third of the seven daughters chosen to live as a boy.

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