Colours of the Rainbow - Pride Month

Tapiwa Lapidos

I am a transgender female from Mbabane, Swaziland.

My journey of self-discovery and further acceptance, much like many others, was challenging especially living in a country that in intolerant of the LGBTQI community.

So where did it start? My femininity was evident throughout my childhood with girly desires which were met by rejection from my parents. I always wanted dolls and to be a princess. This put me in a position where coming out as gay was almost inevitable. However, as time went on I hit a period of self-hate and uncomfortability, which is when I realized that I still just wasn’t me. Further questioning and emotional cliffs rained on through my life. I allowed myself to break my own artificial comfort zone around the end of high school and embrace my inner girl, which lead up to me realizing who I was and was meant to be.

I felt free as if I had broken free from chains. However, I knew the impacts of revealing my true gender identity would bring, being a cultural & family taboo. I came out to myself, friends then close family who all reacted relatively positively. Grasping fully what my transition entailed such as pronouns, hormones was the real journey for everyone, tested my own stretch.  Depression, social anxiety and a loss of all self-worth and beauty engulfed my life. I lost my voice. This led me to a further period of questioning if it is all worth it resulting in hospitalization. This although sad, fortunately highlighted the seriousness of my transgenderism to friends, teachers and family. With the aid of psychologists and my supports in the form of friends, family and strangers I found my voice and made my transition a reality. My transition was not for the fainthearted amidst my own privileges. However, I am grateful for the lessons learned and things achieved. This marked the start of a great journey.

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