Harnaam Kaur was just 11 when she started sprouting facial hair.
As you might expect, it was a difficult time. In order to look like other girls at school, Kaur resorted to waxing twice a week. She also tried bleaching and shaving, but that only made the hair come back thicker.
“I got bullied badly," she said, according to the Mirror. "At school I was called a ‘beardo’ and things like ‘shemale’ and ‘sheman.’"
Kaur suffers with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that causes excessive hair growth in some women. The 23-year-old even contemplated suicide during those tough teen years, but now she is proud of her beard.
"I feel more feminine, more sexy and I think I look it too," Kaur said, according to the Metro. "I’ve learned to love myself for who I am nothing can shake me now."
Kaur, who works as a teaching assistant, credits her positive attitude to a decision to be baptized as a Sikh when she was 16.
One of the religion's tenets is that body hair must be left to grow. Her parents initially opposed the decision, but Kaur said she was tired of hiding her true self.
It wasn't easy. A year after her baptism, she shaved off her beard because of pressure from her extended family.
"I removed my beard once during a really low moment. But when I'd done it, all I could do was cry because I didn't feel like myself," she said, according to the Daily Star.
"My brother was actually the one person who was completely shocked by what I had done -- he hugged me and said I had looked so beautiful with my beard, he didn't understand why I had done it.
"It was from that point that I thought I'm never going to remove it ever again."
Kaur now emphasizes her femininity by wearing skirts, dresses and jewelry. But she still tries to see the humor in her situation.
“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 said, according to HuffPost UK.
"The funniest reactions I get are from the children at my school. Some ask me what my beard is and I joke it’s a Halloween costume."
Although she's had at least one marriage proposal from a man who saw her sharing her story on YouTube, Kaur said some of the men in her community haven't been able to get over her beard.
“I haven’t found a potential husband yet. I still get some grief ... and it does still seem to be a barrier to marriage, but I’m young and there’s still plenty of time for that," she told Barcroft TV. “All that matters to me at the moment is that I love myself. I love my beard and all my other little quirks –- my tattoos, my scars, stretch marks and blemishes."