Our Stories Through Art

I am Transgender and I'm Proud

For the past 6 years I have been working for the same company. I came out as Transgender to everyone. Explained severally to those who did not understand the term, but still they insist on calling me by my dead name, they keep referring to me as a she.

The IT personnel who is a gay man and a friend changed my name on all company systems. My work email now says Thomars, the clocking machine, my extension, my name tag, etc.

With all of that in their faces they still call me “Thelma, her, she, maam, miss”.   The ones that call me Thomars do it in a joking and mocking way, but I will take that over Thelma anyday. 

I spoke to my boss 1 on 1. Told him I am a man and he was understanding. I fell for it until he said, when he was a teenager he thought he was a woman! I could not explain to him or tell him to his face that it was not the same thing. I went home that day happy that as a progressive person he will know what to do. He never made a change.            

Without gender neutral bathrooms in the office, and no one accepting me as the man I am; everyday I have to take the walk of shame to and from the women’s bathroom…

I stay in the bathroom cubicle for a longer time, trying to gather courage to walk out.

I wait until I am about to spoil myself before I can’t pull myself to comfortably walk to that bathroom. To make matters worse it’s an open plan office…

There is no hiding…

This is the place I spend most of my time. It would be better if I can be included.

As an equal being to everyone else I have learnt to accept everyone as they are. My other colleague recently became a Sangoma (traditional healer). She suddenly became a topic for office gossip. Having been raised in a religious home, I grew up hating anything to do with traditional healers, as I was taught that they were evil. Anything besides our home religion was seen as witchcraft and wrong. 

I am not that child anymore. I unlearnt everything I was taught, which seek to divide humans based on our different beliefs. I am learning all life has to offer by myself. Which has been a beautiful journey that is teaching me to accept every human and respect them as they ought to be.

If only every single person in this world can learn to be open minded, we will learn not to judge or conclude from one’s own prejudiced experiences. This world would be a better home for all.

I never really liked my job, but I was ok with it. Now I’ve grown to loathe it, because some people just choose to hate. I’m still that same person that was a lesbian woman, it took time to be accepted. The I’m treated now, it’s as though they are saying, lesbian was ok but now you are not ok.

As if being male is so special and u have to have some type of qualification for the cis men to accept you.

There’s nothing super special about being a man. It’s just who I am and should be addressed as such. Many cis man are offended if a person mistook them for a cis woman and vice versa. There’s nothing wrong with being a woman, women are great, I am a feminist and I love women. All I am saying is I am not one.

I am ready to claim my freedom, my happiness, and my life. I have given 6 years that I will never get back, to a place and to people that do not even fake to acknowledge me for me. I am one of them, a team player, a hard worker, a colleague and a friend, I am nice and accepting of everyone but what do I get in return…