Pride Personified 

Interviews by Angelo de Klerk


To celebrate October Pride Month Angelo de Klerk selected 5 members of the LGBT+ community, creating a diverse group of people for a diverse group of answers.

 

MonD The Gay Superhero

Gay, Queer Man
He, him, His, They, Them, Their 
Writer, producer, presenter, actor
Socials:  Mond_Motadi, MonD_Motadi

How important would you say having a supportive family is in a world where we are still shunned for being ourselves?

The support one could receive from their family can make living in this world a little better especially since we are still facing hate crimes against members of the LGBTQIA+ community in society. Support is so important for one’s mental health and their navigation of life , this is not common with Queer people, most queer people tend to be ostracized by their families so when one has that support it truly does make a difference. 

What do you think children in school need to be educated on more when it comes to the queer community?

I believe creating a space of inclusion in the fundamental stages of one’s development is essential, and this should be implemented by the people who hold the positions of power which in this case are the educators who need to be aware of the language they use when addressing queer children. We need to change curriculums and implement inclusion with those books, particularly in subjects such as life orientation. 

What are some of the biggest misconceptions you’ve received based on how you identify?

People have many misconceptions about the queer community and most of their views are perpetuated by patriarchy. They often try to police our identity by trying to use their binary understanding of gender and heteronormativity so I would say that the biggest one would be that we chose to be queer and that is untrue, we have always existed and we will continue to exist.

What has your experience been with services provided in our country (home affairs, the medical system, the educational system, etc)?

My experience with the service providers has obviously been a bit lenient and that is only due to my privilege of being a cis queer person but I have heard of their incompetence when it comes to ensuring the identification of transgender people as well as creating a safe space for queer people who come to sign their marriage certificates. I think that they need to improve their systems, digitize to make it a smooth process for all its people. 

What are your thoughts on the discrimination that exists within the lgbt community?

The discrimination that exists within the community is unnecessary and is holding us back from achieving our liberation, we must unite and invoke the spirit of community in order for us to achieve queer rights all over the world.

What’s one thing being queer taught you that you wouldn’t have learned if you were a cis-het person?

That you don’t have to survive in order to exist, you have to live without the fear of coastally feeling like who you are is under attack which is not the case for most queer people. I really wish and hope for a better world were we didn’t have to wake up to survive, we deserve to live in a world that is safe and accepts all who live in it.


Nino Maphosa

Transgender man
He/Him/Daddy
Photographer, Boxer and Cultural ethnographer 
Socials: IG – @nino.ayanda ;  Facebook –  
Ayanda Nino Maphosa

How important would you say having a supportive family is in a world where we are still shunned for being ourselves?

Having a supportive family makes life easy in terms of confidence and betterment of one’s mental health and how they can navigate the world.

What do you think children in school need to be educated on more when it comes to the queer community?

They need to educate them on sexual preferences and sexual orientation. Also that there’s mental issues and health issues. We tend to speak about fashion not educate about important things we go through like mental health, the health system, that queer do actually have relationships and successful careers.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions you’ve received based on how you identify? 

That I was not man enough, so I don’t have a right to talk about men experiences.

What has your experience been with services provided in our country (home affairs, the medical system, the educational system, etc)?

It has been a roller coaster because people seem like they don’t understand transgender people or they’re being ignorant to the fact that trans people do exist. I have been waiting for my documents to change and home affairs has been giving me a run around.

What are your thoughts on the discrimination that exists within the lgbt community?

It upsets me that we discriminate each other in the community because of a lack of understanding and being ignorant. We need to start educating within our community first, before we go out there.

What’s one thing being queer taught you that you wouldn’t have learned if you were a cis-het person?

It has taught me to be more vocal about my childhood traumas and mental health.


Thobe Moyo

Lesbian/Pansexual and Female, Gender Non-confirming
She/They
Writer, Filmmaker, Journalist
Socials: IG – @wasabijackson ; Twitter – @thobecorazon
Website: cultured zealot.art.blog 

 

How important would you say having a supportive family is in a world where we are still shunned for being ourselves?
Yes, I do think support from family is important, because parental units and relatives need to stop creating avoidable mental illnesses in young queer people through the trauma of abandonment and denial. Young people are exposed to many triggers in the outside world as it is, and as a parent, the responsible thing to do would be not to add to this. In many cases one must decide whether they will do right by the people that they claim to love in the lifetime that’s right in front of them or the afterlife that is being promised to them by the institution of religion. At the very least, you would hope that the people that claim to love you would stand by you as you navigate a queerphobic world such as this one. 

However, I do not completely believe that queer people cannot thrive without a supportive biological family, because queer people are quite well versed in the concept of ‘chosen family’. This is a community that is all too familiar with abandonment, which has allowed them to adapt by finding each other and creating a new, more modern idea of family. I’ve seen queer people healing each other through sheer empathy. 

 

What do you think children in school need to be educated on more when it comes to the queer community?

WE NEED MORE QUEER SEX EDUCATION! The education system is already failing to give adequate heteronormative sex education to young people, but I still find it shocking that most schools do not even touch on queer sex; almost implying the erasure of queer people in general and the impossibility of homosexual/non-heteronormative sexual acts. I personally think it is a part of most of the world’s implied or overt ideological standings and the overall conservative agenda. They think that if they withhold most of the factual information about sex, they can keep children from having ‘gay thoughts’ and promote abstinence as a whole. If schools provide adequate sex education, then they would have to start educating young people about all the other genders or non-gender identities that exist along with sexuality and biology that extends across the spectrum of existence. 

What are some of the biggest misconceptions you’ve received based on how you identify?
Some of the most outrageous misconceptions I’ve heard about bisexual or pansexual people usually have to do with ‘promiscuity’, ’confusion’ or the denial of one’s supposed polar homosexuality. 

What has your experience been with services provided in our country (home affairs, the medical system, the educational system, etc)?
Institutions in South Africa can be quite unforgiving when it comes to gender identity and sexuality, once again, because of their underlying ideological affiliations and agendas. Schools still have oppressive codes of conducts that cause deep-rooted trauma in the lives of queer people that go through the system.

What are your thoughts on the discrimination that exists within the lgbt community? It’s no secret that transphobia, biphobia and racism are almost just as prominent in the queer community as it is in the rest of the world. Queerphobia can actually also be internalised because of the indoctrination of the masses that is experienced in early childhood. Sometimes queer people don’t believe that they can be oppressors as well, because they themselves are marginalised. This way of thinking needs to be challenged, so that all members of the community start to feel accepted 

What’s one thing being queer taught you that you wouldn’t have learned if you were a cis-het person?
Being queer has taught me that I can be disenfranchised in 5 different ways and still destroy every obstacle in my path in order to take what is rightfully mine. I will not be defeated.


David 

Queer male 
He, her, They
Fashion buyer, sales rep, creative 
Socials: Dezra_ore (everywhere)

How important would you say having a supportive family is in a world where we are still shunned for being ourselves?
It’s what we need but don’t have. I feel straight people don’t realise how fortunate they are to have their family’s support. Family helps us have a better moral compass and a different way of thinking, for example “if I do this what will my family say”. Our choices in life would be from a place of love and kindness but since so many of us don’t have that, it creates an internal need for a support structure and if we’re unable to get that we find it in what is called the “fast life” – glamour, money, men, sex, fame, parties and drugs etc. Our choices are then from a broken place, a sad place, even an angry one.

Having family support would really shake the LGTBQ community, we wouldn’t stay in toxic relationship with a person that abuses us because we would have a stronger sense of self-worth,

We’d walk away from bad people and things that are detrimental to our lives but because most of us don’t have that type of structure, we look for it and most of the time in the worst of places.

What do you think children in school need to be educated on more when it comes to the queer community?
I think they need to know how normal know it is, how normal they are, but yet again they are faced with things like religious groups branding queerness as evil, and if you are like that you are doomed. When I was a child that’s the fear that was instilled in me and it became my worst and biggest antagonist, so children need to know being queer is normal, and any scripture they read is just someone’s interpretation of what they think is being said.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions you’ve received based on how you identify?

When I was a child, some boys would make fun of me by calling me her/she and in honesty I felt comfortable I just didn’t like the fact that they thought it was something to laugh about.

What has your experience been with services provided in our country (home affairs, the medical system, the educational system, etc)?

My experience in public service this far has been great except for hospitals. There was a time a condom broke during intercourse, and I went to a medical centre to get help and when I got there they made it so uncomfortable for me to even speak about what happened and they weren’t giving me straight answers in how I can get help. They saw I was queer, I sometimes still think about that moment, a large group just staring at me. From that day I’ve only gone to queer medical centres because I don’t have to deal with that.

What are your thoughts on the discrimination that exists within the lgbt community?

There is so much internalised homophobia, and this toxic trend in which some queer men that are usually closeted ask questions like “are you straight-acting”. It throws me off because I can be seen as someone whose straight-acting at times but why are we running away from our queerness so much I don’t like how the term makes me feel it’s like it’s taking me steps back in my queer journey.

What’s one thing being queer taught you that you wouldn’t have learned if you were a cis-het person?

Queer people have a certain aura that can be seen as a breath of fresh air or even a colourful life as a collective. I feel we feel differently, and we are freer to live our lives than cis-het people are, and for us that’s truly amazing. Being gay has liberated me from so much.


Naledy Selepe

Lesbian 
She/her/them
Filmmaker, prophetess, activist and a radical feminist
Socials: IG – @naledytheactivist 

How important would you say having a supportive family is in a world where we are still shunned for being ourselves?

When my family learned about my sexuality it was havoc. Not only did they make it difficult for me to navigate my life around the surroundings that involve them but also instilled a lot of self-hatred and doubtfulness within me. I am still healing from that. Because in everything they said, they made sure to interrogate my sexuality and its authenticity. So, it’s very important to establish a support system that can also become a safe space for the involved parties to navigate their lives with understanding. It is worse enough already that you have the world criticising you. How much more can you take from your family.

What do you think children in school need to be educated on more when it comes to the queer community?

The difference between sex and gender. The understanding that masculinity and femininity can influence each other because both these spectrums exist in everyone. Moreover how to equip young children with the mental and emotional intelligence to deal with the toxic foundation that has been laid by society towards the queer community and their untrue notions. 

What are some of the biggest misconceptions you’ve received based on how you identify?

That because I love expressing my masculinity through how I behave, dress up and my interactions with other people, people are quick to assume my pronouns, labelling me, which is a problem for me because I do not want to be defined.

What has your experience been with services provided in our country (home affairs, the medical system, the educational system, etc)?

Negative. It would be helpful if the systems already put in place can be adjusted or better yet changed because people of our kind exist. It would also help to teach the people navigating those systems about our respective communities and understand that we’re human too – deserving of everything that heterosexual people have access to. 

What are your thoughts on the discrimination that exists within the lgbt community?

Hypocritical, embarrassing and very alarming. We always preach how the world should be accepting of us as the LGBTIQ+ community but we fail to acknowledge each of ourselves to begin with. There is a need for conversations to be had amongst us. Uncomfortable conversations. 

What’s one thing being queer taught you that you wouldn’t have learned if you were a cis-het person?

Personally it has to be interrogating how my feminine and masculine spectrums have informed my sexuality. I’ve allowed ideologies to define how I should identify myself and for the longest time I battled with that. In all the facets of my relationships I was conflicted but now, I’m owning it.