Confidence does not come from being liked, or loved it comes from your ability to like and love yourself.
Below are the narratives of 3 African Transgender activists. In their own words, they share about their lives , experiences and how they feel about their bodies …..
Who am I
I am CG I am a transman from Zambia. I am a Trans Activist and I am involved in building the trans movement in my country.
My body is God`s work of art. Although I have had my top surgery, I know what it means to be a transman who has no access to surgery, waiting and hoping that one day what you feel in the inside will one day be reflected on the outside.
i love my toned shoulders and arms because this is where my strength lies and where my heart is protected and i am safe from the pain of life`s intolerance and hatred.
Word to other trans* persons:
It’s not easy to be in opposition with the world but once you are in line with yourself and understand that you are different because you are special, there is nothing impossible because the universe will always protect you from harm..
Who am I
My name is Jane K i am an Trans woman from Zimbabwe based in South Africa. I am an LGBT rights activist .
I wasn’t always happy with you. I wanted longer legs, a flat tummy, a pair of awesome breasts and yes, at some point I wanted a vagina too..
Over the years, you and i have been through a lot. We have braved crippling colds, sicknesses from tonsillitis, to STIs. We have survived the excruciating pain of wisdom teeth and injuries sustained in many accidents.
Today, although we have lost some teeth, experience hair loss and live with scars, we may no be as active as we used to be, but we are grateful to be alive .
I have learnt to accept you my body the way you are. Yes I cannot and may never be able to afford gender reassignment surgery, but I refuse to believe my life isn’t worth living or somehow limited because of that.
I love you my body, you may not appear perfect to others but to me you are beautifully imperfect and i am embracing you .
I love my face because it is my canvas, i can work on it and give myself the look i want. It is also very feminine looking that makes me happy because i don’t have to worry so much about taking hormones to feel like a transwoman.
Word to other Trans* persons:
Love and Embrace You. Love and live your life , you only have one..
Who am I
My names are Gcinekile Ndlovu, I am a Zimbabwean. I am an LGBT rights activist.
Although I am a Trans man, I prefer to say I am gender non-conforming. This is because currently I feel very much in between genders owing to my being unable to access gender reassignment treatment such as Testosterone and top Surgery or any other Transitioning related Services in my country.
Because there is a general lack of understanding of transgender issues in my country, i am constantly being mis-gendered, however as a coping mechanism I seldom share my gender identity. This i do to evade the 101 questions often asked in a manner, which appears to be obviously mocking any visible biological female features on my body.
I dislike parts of my body especially the hips and chest area. I however believe my body is my link to the physical world, for my soul would not interact in the physical realm without a vessel. I appreciate that about my body as it is like having a roof over one’s head even if not in the most ideal of conditions. It’s like comparison of a vagrant sleeping in the open versus a prisoner in a building who is assured of a meal and roof even if they are imprisoned they at least have shelter.
At times I liken my relationship with my body to being in a violent home, where all you think about is running away, but having nowhere to run to. One can however take steps to survive and make the best of incarceration or take steps to reduce tension in an unhappy home. I thus do the best I can to appreciate that I am alive and in existence, having an opportunity to make a difference in the world.
I feel in as much as I dislike elements of my body I know it is a necessity to have and own one and also with the realisation that most human beings are not fully satisfied with their bodies I have learnt to appreciate mine despite the changes I want to see on it.
I love my arms because i believe many men, Trans and cis alike, struggle with upper body mass and I am naturally heavily built in that area, though currently i am more of fat than muscle, i know when I work out I immediately shape well and my arms appear physically strong.
Word to other Trans* persons:
They say the first step is self-acceptance, and confidence helps take away some of the strain of dysphoria. This is very true, however my advice relates to the relationships we have, form or found with people around us. You must always take charge of your being in how you relate with the world around you and those whom you love. These can be your greatest sources of support and positivity but also may be your worst trigger of dysphoria and self-denial. We ultimately decide what role our loved ones play in our lives, as we work through each day with them, let us set our own boundaries and learn to love our selves for the awesome people that we are.
Compiled and edited by Miles Rutendo Tanhira