A study conducted by the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) in 2017, revealed the Eastern Cape is the most homophobic province in the country.
The report showed that rape, assault, murder and intolerance towards the LGBT community was common, particularly in rural areas in South Africa.
A young woman, who’d like to remain anonymous, shared with YOU the realities she faces as a lesbian in the Eastern Cape.
This is her story
“Being gay or lesbian is a state of being, I don’t choose who I fall in love with.
I've dated a guy before, but it never worked because I was ‘unavailable’, it seemed right but felt so wrong. I didn’t have any other way as a young village girl who was taught that a man is the head of the house, I wanted to be like other girls.
I fought myself until I made peace with the fact that I’m not attracted to men.
Mid-matric I finally found someone who I loved. Coming out was difficult especially when one comes from a Christian home where people believe that being gay/lesbian is against the will of God. I was forced to succumb to what seemed to be right at that time which was seeing myself as some guy’s girlfriend.
I was hiding in the ‘closet’ for a very long time.
As soon as I escaped the fences of high school, I started to become comfortable with myself. When I got to varsity life things seemed a bit easier because I found people of my kind. For the first time it felt normal, loving another girl.
Since then I was able to live with myself as I am. I finally found the one person who I think is a perfect match.
It hasn't been easy going back home because the village people are judgmental. It's funny how guys in the village still say things like ‘I will change you and you’ll know that you are a girl’ as if I don't already know.
My sexual orientation has nothing to do with me being female. .
I think my family is cool with who I am. They’re all so supportive and I was never judged for being myself except by those aunts and uncles who think they’ve mastered life and have what it takes to live a perfect life.
I wish people could understand that we also have feelings and emotions and we also deserve to be treated like other people because we’re just like everyone else.
Some say it's a sin. If to love her and to be loved by her is a sin, then it means I’ll live and die in sin.”
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