Transmongolian, the Secret History of the Mongols - PhMuseum

Transmongolian, the Secret History of the Mongols

Alvaro Laiz

2011 - 2012

The Secret History of the Mongols, considered to be the oldest Mongolian language literary work, is the single significant native account of Mongolia’s rise to power around the 12th century AD.

Providing a clear narration of the vicissitudes that brought a disperse land of nomads to become the greatest domination in Asia, the work paints a clear portrait of the journey taken by a young Temuiin before transforming into, the great ruler of Asia, Genghis Khan.

Blended with fictional and historical accounts, the epic poetry and narrative, recounts how the warrior was able to organize more than thirty tribes battling for control, and how once in power, with the objective to augment his population and face the chinese army comanded by Song dinasty, declared homosexuality illegal under death penalty.

It is curious to recall that transexuality has a certain root inside the Mongol tradition. The Shaman had a special status inside the nomad population. They would connect the spiritual world to the human world.

Today, more than eight hundred years later, Mongolia is a sovereign country with the lowest population rate in the world, lower than two inhabitants per square kilometer and being a homosexual, continues to be taboo.

The weight of tradition and the years under Soviet control, a time in which homosexuals were sent to gulag, surmise a ballast for gays, lesbians, and transsexuals, who continue to be repressed, rejected, and victimized. Condemned to a life of secrecy, many of them find themselves turning to prostitution, others lead a life of solitude.

The younger wrestle to flee the Mongolian borders, to countries such as the Philippines or Japan, where their condition is much more tolerable and dreams of a sex change are attainable, but above all, to an identity which in their native land, has been denied way too long.

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  • Outskirts of Ulaanbataar. Genghis Khan image has been drawn over a hill with stones.

  • Gambush, with her personal makeup artist, in a prostibule where she works every night.

  • Human Rights Watch and International Amnesty have warned about LGBT situation in Mongolia "despite homosexual behaviour is not specifically considered as a crime under mongolian law, considers ilegal giving or receiving sexual pleasure through inmoral practices".
    Also International Amnesty have documented reports of public assaults and laboral harrassment caused by their sexual orientation.

  • Naaram, dressed with a traditional mongolian queen dress.

  • Vanity on a traditional mongolian queen costume

  • The weight of tradition and the years under Soviet control, a time in which homosexuals were sent to gulag, surmise a ballast for gays, lesbians, and transsexuals, who continue to be repressed, rejected, and victimized

  • Nurbul, professional dancer prepares himself for a private show on a gay party in Ulaanbataar.

  • Gambush, 67 years old. Ex-prostitute and laptop-dancing teacher in UB night clubs.

  • Margaash on a traditional queen costume

  • A young transgender, removes his make up and change his fem clothes on a taxi after her show on an underground party as her alter ego "Vanity". Men who dress like girls in public may suffer harrassment or phisical violence.

  • Gays, lesbians and transsexuals are socially suppressed, rejected and underprivileged people in modern Mongolia. Forced to look for help between those of the same condition, some of them become male prostitutes o prostitutes, others get a life of loneliness and concealment. The youngests fight to go out out from Mongolia, to countries as The Philippines or Japan, where theirs condition are much more easier and in even they might compete for a change of sex. And the most important, a social recognition imposible to achive in theirs own country.

  • More than eight hundred years later of Genghis Khan homosexuality ban, Mongolia is a sovereign country with the lowest population rate in the world, lower than two inhabitants per square kilometer and being a homosexual, continues to be taboo.

  • Naaram with his adoptive son. "I took care of him since he was a baby, but, as it is not possible for gay people to adopt so my sister and his husband are, legally, his adoptive fathers".

  • Baara, 55 years old, lives in one of the poorest and conflictive districts in Ulaanbataar due to his lack of money. "Ulaanbataar is very small. I?ts very difficult for me to get a job because everyone knows me " Nowadays he?s working for an ngo where he gets small money.

  • Otgoonbataar, one of the more famous and respected homosexual rights activist in Mongolia. "Noone can blame me for living my life; if they want to kill me for that, I?m ready, but I won?t live in fear anymore".

  • Gambush,watches carefully her pupil moves at a prostibule in Ulaanbataar.

  • "Since I was very young I knew I wanted to dress like a girl. I felt I was a girl, but I was told I had to behave like a boy... and by that time I couldn´t understand why" Vanity, 20 years old who lives in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia on his rented room.

  • Gambush, 67 years old dressed with a traditional mongolian queen costume.

  • The younger wrestle to flee the Mongolian borders, to countries such as the Philippines or Japan, where their 'condition' is much more tolerable and dreams of a sex change are attainable. Vanity, 20 years old. Social worker.

  • Naaram, close friend of Gambush spent most of his younghood in Russia where he became alcoholic . Now, back in Mongolia with no work and almost no family but his sister and his adoptive son, he has to deal with an uncertain future.


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