Lilit Martirosyan has thick, shiny hair, deep brown eyes, and a warm smile. Yet, it took her several surgeries to get the body she always dreamt of. Born Karen, the 26-year-old always felt a woman trapped in someone else’s body, that of a man.
“I would look at myself in the mirror and I could not recognize myself. I was 13 when I told my mother that I wanted to be a woman,” she recalls. When 19, she decided the time had come to go through the process. It was a painful ride that lasted over five years - on top of the painful medical procedures and heavy hormone intake, she endured discrimination, mocking, and violence. She resisted. Now she is Lilit for everyone, including the law, as this is the name her passport states.
In January 2016 Lilit founded the “Right Side,” Armenia’s first non-governmental organization advocating for transgender persons’ rights. The NGO opened a space where transgender individuals can gather and organize events, as well as seek free legal and psychological support.
“I will not leave Armenia. I will stay here and will fight till the end of my life [for our rights].”