Tevin, 18 (Posing for a portrait)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Identifies as gender non-conforming and a non-binary person.
- For me it means full expression without any limitations, and it allows me to be whoever I want to be, whenever I want to be it. Growing up, I always felt limited when everybody identified me as a boy, because I never felt comfortable identifying as that. When I grew older, and was exposed to a much bigger world, I learned that there are more varied identities. When I discovered the queer community, it was where I felt at home, and that this is who I am, and where I belong. I am generally safe as a black queer person in South Africa. The country is slowly moving in to a more progressive phase, with more visibility, and with more exposure in the mainstream media. The country is slowly being more aware. But I have felt harassed a multiple times, and I will be as long as I use public transport. We also get harassed by taxi drivers, because they do not know what we identify as, and they find us confusing. I have been verbally and physically attacked by strangers on the road, that happens quite often. It is something I have to live with. It is legal in South Africa, but if you report something to the police, you will most likely not been take seriously, they see you as a joke. One thing I would say to the people out there is: Stay true to who you are and be open to teach and educate people. This is the only way countries will progress. In that way we will learn and grow together. Stay strong.