Laila (aka Sabor Hosseini), 65, an Afghan performer in the western province of Herat, on Wednesday received the International Award for Devotion to Art 2020 by Art International.
Wednesday, November 25, was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
“The government has not valued the arts in recent years. The government has no plan to develop theater, cinema and music,” said Fraidoon Fakoori, head of the Herat Theater.
Laila said she is excited about getting the award but added that people’s mistreatment of her as a transgender has made her "tired of life."
“I am happy about the award. I am a bit unhappy because our society does not value artists,” Laila said.
“Unfortunately, people do not respect the arts even in Herat, which is the center of culture and science,” said Laila, who is a Herat resident.
For the past 40 years, Laila has taught at a primary school in Guzara district, which requires a 10-kilometer commute from her home in the city of Herat, which she makes on foot. She says she is often mistreated by men when she is out.
Laila wears a hat, shirt and tie as a disguise, but says these do not help in many instances because she has long hair and a style of walking that draws attention. In a recent incident, Laila lost 90 percent of sight in one eye when she was beaten up by a man on her way home from the mosque.
Laila says she is finally speaking to the media about her identity and her situation. From childhood she was advised by her aunt to not disclose her gender because of the danger. She says she has faced many problems since speaking to the media.