“My father knew that something was different with me”
Her own father tried to kill her in her sleep. But she survived and today can finally be the person who has always been in her. Our strong woman in Pride Month!
It was May 29, 2019 when Cataleya’s father took her little brother to school. Then he went back home, picked up a kitchen knife and ran into Cataleya’s room. She was still sleeping because she had come home late that evening. By the hand he tore his child out of sleep and to the floor, kneeling over the filigree body so that it could hardly defend itself. “You are gay, you are gay!” He shouted. “No!” Cataleya yelled back in shock. “But my father didn’t care and then he started cutting my neck,” she recalls.
When your own father becomes a murderer
Cataleya, who at the time was still called Pstiwan and was a boy, had not lied to her father. Because: She’s not gay, she’s trans – Catalaya was born a boy, but identifies as a woman. Since fifth grade she knew she was different. “When I first saw Conchita Wurst at the ESC, I asked myself: Am I just like her?” But at that time Cataleya tried to suppress this thought. She never came out before her family. She would never have received any support. “But my father already knew that something was different with me. I was very well-groomed, was usually in the bathroom for a long time. After I was finished, he checked what I had done. My father wanted to know why I shave and how I should a woman behaved. I always denied everything, “she explains.
Despite trying to hide the real you as best he could, her father was convinced that “his son” liked men – a shame on him and the pride of the family. His decision: to kill his own child.
A struggle for survival
When Cataleya lay bleeding on the floor, she didn’t know if she should fight for her life at all. She had already tried several suicide attempts. Yet the human body fights to the end. It’s in its nature. With the last of her strength, Cataleya tore herself away from her father and fled to the neighbors, who alerted the emergency services. She barely survived.
I was lucky it didn’t hit my carotid artery or I wouldn’t be alive
describes her. Today she only wears collared tops to hide her finger-width scars on her neck. She no longer has any contact with her family. The last time Cataleya saw her father in court. There he dismissed the act, accusing his own child of having done this to himself. But the court found the father guilty: he was sentenced to eleven years ‘imprisonment and twelve years’ expulsion from the country. After imprisonment, he has to leave Switzerland. Nevertheless, the proceedings continue because the father has lodged an objection.
Questions without an answer
Since being released from the hospital, Cataleya has lived alone in Bern in an apartment belonging to the social welfare office. Almost a year ago she was finally able to take hormones to look more feminine and to be the person she really is. Her greatest wish is gender reassignment surgery. However, your scars on your neck will always be visible, reminding you of your past.
If Cataleya could, she would like to sit across from her father again and ask him three questions: “Why did you do that? Why exactly that one morning? And why are you lying that I did this to myself?” She says. It is unlikely that Cataleya will ever get an answer to these questions. But maybe it would help her to at least heal the psychological scars to some extent.
Despite the emotional wounds, she is brave and strong. “I have a new family,” she says with a smile. By that she means her circle of friends, who accept and love her: with make-up, high heels and a top without a collar.
Source used: Interview