Monday, October 25, 2010

City Of Apples, Land Of Penguins


Where do I live?

I live in South Africa, a country which has one of the most advanced Constitutions on the planet, in terms of human rights and equality for people like me. It's a country full of contradictions, as a careful analysis will show. For me, as a transgender woman who doesn't care much about the gender of my prospective partners, it's my home, but also a place that occasionally makes me feel unwelcome enough to want to leave.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Who Are We? Why Are We Here?


I sat down this morning wondering what our community is all about. I'm thinking about the Pink Community of course. Pink, because of the confusing array of acronyms we apply to describe ourselves, that almost always put some sub-groups before others, and invariably leave someone out. Pink, because of our association with the feminine, with the notion that we break the boundaries set for us by society, and because it flies in the face of some beliefs that pink represents weakness and inferiority - an idea some are growing to realize is not the case at all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Holding Hands


Last night I attended the inaugural meeting of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays), a new group in Port Elizabeth. It's an initiative I developed through a group I'm involved with, called ECGLA (Eastern Cape Gay & Lesbian Association) and the PE branch of Lifeline. This initiative is the culmination of the past year's co-operation between Lifeline PE and ECGLA on developing a community-focused counseling service for the Pink Community in Port Elizabeth - and I have to admit, it's a heart-warming experience when you start to see and feel the fruit of your labors!

Based on the American concept, PFLAG is a support group for the straight parents and friends (and colleagues) of the Pink Community, intended to provide information, counselling and education on the issues surrounding the pink people in their lives, and to break down the social stigma faced by pink folks and their relatives and friends. It's also heart-warming when people who are, for all intents and purposes, outside our community, reach out a welcoming hand and work to make things better.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Choice - A Matter Of Perspective


I was a little caught by surprise this weekend when I saw an article about conscription in the Old South Africa, in which the author claimed that "conscription was a choice", and basically placed the blame for conscripts who served their year or two years, on them. The author claimed that they could well have made use of the loopholes to avoid national service if they so desired, as he did.

There are some flaws in this theory of his, however, as I can attest. I am one of those white "men" who went to the army in January 1992, the very last compulsory intake. In fact, it was our intake that very nearly rioted when we heard after arriving at our training base that those who hadn't reported for duty no longer had to - and that we who had, had to finish our year.


I was an 18 year old child, straight out of school, confused about my my sexuality, my gender and about who I was - lost in a world of political turmoil and threatening violence, possible military coups and potential civil war, living under the authority of the state, enforced by both parents and society.

Where was my choice?