I still live a double life
My mother doesn't know. I'm still afraid to tell her. I can handle rejection, but I'm afraid she will have a stroke or heart attack. At least transitioning is a slow process, so time is on my side. If my breasts get bigger, then I’ll probably have to come out. I also go to work as a man. They probably think I'm gay or just plain weird because I don’t mix and mingle with anyone and on occasion the woman inside comes out. The male side of me is not social. Never was, never will be.
At home and work I am a man. When I go out alone or with friends, I’m Yolanda. I often lock myself in my room just to be me. That is just the way I survive. That and praying a lot. Living my life humbly and on my knees keeps me going.
I still have a long journey ahead of me
If all goes well, I should complete all my laser treatments and other treatments by the end of 2014. I need to see a psychiatrist for an entire year before I can get the OK for my gender reassignment surgery. Sometimes, I wish I was abroad, because it is less stressful abroad than here in South Africa. I just remain positive. I will get there.
I do throw the odd tantrum or hissy fit every now and then. Apparently it happens at specific times of the month. PMS, I guess. But I am happy. I am blissfully happy. And I love and believe in God, and because of everything I went through with the church, I will never judge a person. I will only give love and acceptance.
I look forward to a day where I can look at myself and see a complete woman in body and soul. The day the caterpillar will become a butterfly.
My fears and struggles
My biggest fear in life is employment. I’ve tried to apply for employment both as Yolanda and Daniel. In a country with strict affirmative action laws you would think Yolanda might stand a better chance for employment, but up till today, I’ve never had any responses on my CV and applications, but I’ve had responses to Daniel.
I had to attach a cover letter to my CV explaining I’m intersex/transgender. I can only assume that people are afraid someone like me will be a complication rather than an asset to a company. Employment remains a big worry for me. Will Yolanda ever be lucky enough to find employment?
In the past, I used to have many issues when I was out shopping. I’ve had shops where people were rude to me and others where they refused to help me. My biggest challenge was always my bank cards. I think most people tend to use cards instead of cash in this country. Because my cards had “Mr” as a title, I’ve had issues with various shops when I had to make payments.
It's not easy
This year I had a big fight with one of the major banks in SA because they did not want to remove my title. I changed banks and my new bank was accepting of who I am and helped me to get bank cards without a title. At least Yolanda can now enjoy her shopping experience a bit more.
Toilets are probably the biggest issue for me and other transgender women. When I last checked, if I used the wrong toilet and someone complained, I could be locked up. I don’t know why this is such a big issue because women’s toilets have cubicles and no one can see what is going on inside that cubicle. As a general rule and out of respect, I tend to use the disabled toilet. In the event that there is not alternative, I do use the female toilet. I am a woman and I present myself to the world as a woman. There is no way I want to enter a male toilet dressed as a woman. I normally do my best to avoid the toilet.
The bullying and judgement
Having a male ID and driver’s license provides some challenges as well. Relationships and friendships tend to be another big challenge. I describe myself as being asexual. I am, however, interested in women. I don’t think I will ever have any romantic interest in men. I am a very loyal and loving friend, but I have one major flaw.
Because I’ve been bullied and hurt, I do struggle with trust and I tend to run away from people when I get hurt. I'm lucky that I have a few friends that support and love me for who I am. They accept me even though I can sometimes be difficult. The difference between them and other people? They know my heart, they see the woman trapped inside this shell.
*Transgender is a term often used to describe a person that expresses their gender identity different from that which they are born, therefore someone born male present themselves as female and someone born female present themselves as male.
If you are transgender or intersex, and are looking for support, contact OUT or Gender Dynamix.
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