Harnaam Kaur, a 23-year-old teaching assistant, suffers from a hormonal condition that leaves her with a full face of facial hair. But instead of hiding her beard, Kaur decided to embrace it—and become an inspiration to women around the world.
Kaur, who lives in Berkshire, England, decided that her polycystic ovary syndrome would not ruin her life. She began to grow a beard at the age of 11, enduring cruelty and bullying that drove her to suicidal thoughts.
“I got bullied badly - at school I was called a ‘beardo’ and things like ‘shemale’ and ‘sheman,’” Kaur told the Daily Mail. “I can laugh about it now, but back then it affected me so badly that I began to self-harm because it felt better than all the abuse I was getting.”
Kaur used to wax and trim her hair, which also grows on her chest and arms, twice a week. But at the age of 16 she was baptized a Sikh and decided to stop removing her hair, as is forbidden by the religion.
Kaur’s parents were worried about the consequences of their daughter’s choice.
“They worried I wouldn't be able to get married and that I'd never get a job,” Kaur remembered. “But I wanted to make my own decisions and live for myself - not anyone else. I'd had enough of hiding.”
Kaur, who works as a teaching system at a local Sikh primary school, says she would never go back to hiding her true appearance.
“I would never ever go back now and remove my facial hair because it's the way God made me and I'm happy with the way I am.”
Kaur still endures confusion and discrimination because of her looks.
"I still get shop assistants calling me “sir” and strange looks from people - they see my beard first and realize I've actually got breasts too. It must be confusing for a lot of people," she says.
Yet she feels more confident and feminine than ever before.
“I'm able to go out and shop in the women's section without feeling I shouldn't be there. I wear skirts, dresses and jewelry and I like to get my nails done like every other girl,” Kaur said.
“I feel more feminine, more sexy and I think I look it too. I've learned to love myself for who I am nothing can shake me now.”
Kaur shares her story on YouTube and will continue to be a positive force for women struggling with self-confidence—despite the fact that her refusal to hide who she is has provoked death threats.
"I've had people telling me they're going to burn me and throw a brick at me - all sorts of things like that."
Kaur sees herself as a messenger for women everywhere who struggle with their self-image.
“I want other women to find the strength that I have. If I had any message it would be to live the way you want - it's your journey and it's your life.”
h/t Daily Mail