Dr Rizi Xavier Timane is a female-to-male transgender singer, actor and trans-specialist coach who advocates for transgender rights. He was born and raised in Nigeria.
According to Rizi, he realized at age eight that he was a boy living in a girl’s body, so he approached his parents about this dilemma. However, his staunch Christian parents responded with attempted exorcisms and other reparative therapies that sought to “pray the trans away.”
This rejection and disapproval carried over to the community-at-large as well as peers at school making Rizi the victim of bullying and harassment driving him to years of alcohol and drug abuse and suicidal ideation.
In his own words, Dr. Rizi Xavier Timane told Ebony:
I say “for all intents and purposes” because for as long as I can remember, I never thought of myself as a girl. Though I didn’t know what to call it as a young child—I had no idea there even was a name for what I felt until I was eight years old, when two friends saw a transgender person on an American talk show and told me about it—I knew I was different.
I felt how the boys I knew looked: masculine and tough, not feminine and delicate like my girl friends. I preferred pants to dresses, speaking my mind over being quiet and demure, and roughhousing in the dirt was infinitely more compelling playing dress-up with my mother’s clothes.
When I told my family about how I felt, they told me to keep quiet. My mother and her church friends repeatedly performed exorcisms on me, trying to rid me of the demons that had made me what I was.
Every day between the ages of eight and twelve, I got down on my knees and prayed that God would change me into the boy I knew I was inside.
Today, after twenty surgical procedures plus ongoing hormonal treatments, I can proudly say that I am completely male inside and out. No longer am I the scared child living in an oppressive nation or the adult going through the motions in a life that was not my own.
I am now a heterosexual man living in the United States and enjoying all the societal respect and privilege I’d missed out on for so long, when I was not able to express my authentic self.
After many years of studying religion, the Bible and attending seminary at the Claremont School of Theology, Rizi was delighted to realize that God is accepting of all people, LGBT persons included.
Rizi is now 10 years free from alcohol abuse and 12 years clean from using drugs.
18th March 2017, Rizi and his wife, model Christina Ros celebrated their 10 years together, 5 years married!