While you may find sexual identity to be a straight forward sphere, it’s the total opposite for some individuals. Infect, a rather traumatic experience, particularly for LGBTI individuals. Unlike ordinary everyday people, Lee Siba got caught up in the sexual identity dilemma. Something that’s our parents and media hardly openly discuss. Is it somewhat taboo? One that costs lives!
Childhood stage is traditionally known to be filled with loads of laughter, love and more laughter. The sour truth is, not every kid goes through such bliss! Including myself. Others are forced to focus entirely on themselves, make sense of who they are. Figure out why they turn to being laughing stocks, the uncool ones, and that one kid not to befriend.
“I identify myself as Trans-sexual, it’s been a continued learning curve – self discovery. Initially at first, I identified myself as gay, that caused loads of confusion! It didn’t make sense until I understood Trans-gender. identities.” -Says Lee Siba.
Lee Siba Mothibe was born in the east of Johannesburg at Benoni Boksburg Hospital. Most of her childhood memories lies in Vosloorus , Mankweng Ga Mothiba in Polokwane. Eventually Settled in Daveyton, It’s here where she navigated her way through the puzzling and most fascinating teenage life .
A decade ago, Lee Siba was crowned the very first Miss Gay Daaveyton. A beauty pageant founded by Nomusa Sello after seeing a need for an empowerment platform to embrace LGBTI individuals whilst educating the community about sexuality issues at large. Currently, Lee Siba keeps the legacy flowing, serving as the Director of organisation.
“At six years old, I knew I was different from other kids. In pre-school, I’d always face encounters that were a way or sign to prove me being trapped in the wrong body. Obviously, I’ve came to realizing that only recently. During that time of these incidences, It was clear to me that I was the odd one amongst other kids. Not being able to have an identity – I was neither a boy or gal.” -Continued Lee Siba.
I met this beautiful soul at Mzansi Pride 2014 . Ooh…Boy I tell you, she’s one of the sweetest people I’ve met! Read on to find out how life has been for her as a uber cool trans-women.
Read our Q&A below:
• When did you accept your sexuality?
I had to accept my sexuality twice hence the misunderstanding, being gay and trans-sexual. I first accepted me being homosexual from a very tender age of ten.
That’s when I decided to stop playing with other kids because I knew I was different. I questioned a lot of things cause I knew I was not in the right body. In my mind I was a girl but couldn’t understand why I have a penis ? Why do people stare and make fun of me? So…I found comfort in reading novels and excelling at school. That’s was my escape from the fascinating life I was living.
• When and how did you come out the closet?
I never was on the closet. I started wearing my little sister’s clothes when I was about ten. Bought my first female outfit and grew my hair when I turned thirteen. Thus raised eyebrows in my family and neighborhood.
When I turned fifteen, I started wearing makeup and cut my long hair to Bob Cut when I was in grade 10. Like any other typical teenager, I explored whilst on self discovery. Got influences from idols like Toni Braxton, RU Paul and Lebo Mathosa.
• Did your family treated you any different after finding out about your sexuality?
My parents worries were how convincing I was as a girl and feared being killed for that. They knew form an early age about being homosexual.
My grandmother was supportive all the way, I believe she gave my parents a heavy lecture hence they were open minded.
• We experience a lot of bullying in different forms as LGBTI individuals in our everyday life. Have you experienced such? & How do you overcome these challenges?
I’ve endured a lot of bulling. It’s not the most important part in my life but the most memorable. I was looked inside boy’s toilets by seniors in Junior high School. They demanded to see if had two private parts!
I can’t begin to express the feeling I encountered…emotionally, I was reaped! Basically because that tempered with my confidence. I was often rescued by a guy i had a crush on ironically.
Being bullied occurs to everyone regardless of whichever circumstances.
One need to find a way to deal with the situation even though it’s an unbearable struggle.
I dealt, still do-with bullies by being myself and not changing anything about me. I celebrate myself every day like I’m the only person living in this world. I’m selfish like that.
• What’s the hardest decision you have taken thus far, regarding your sexuality?
The transition part. Taking the next step in 2015 to get full load information on transforming into a woman I’m meant to be. I just need to inform my mother and my late father, then I’m ready to go.
• Who do you look up to in the LGBTI community?
I look up to six amazing people, namely:
1. Zanele Muholi – For all the projects and activism documentation he does daily as part of his life. Putting our struggles out there, for the world to see. The kind of conditions we live under even though we are constitutional free.
2. Sbu Kheswa – Director of Gender Dynamix and activist for Trans Rights throughout Africa. A trans-man from Soweto making things happen not only for himself but others in is reach too.
3. Somizi Mhlongo – A real gay man who is not apologetic for his sexuality. Conquered the celebrity status in South Africa and dominated in his profession.
4. Yaya Langoria Mavundla – She is one of the people who made me realize how much of a trans-woman I am. An amazing friend and sister. South Africa will never be the same again with her on the lime light!
5. LaVerne Cox – She was made to open doors for others and has made an impact on a lot of LGBTI individuals across the world.
6. Lee Siba Mothibe – Im a brand. A lot of people look up to me and I’m my own biggest fan and supporter.
• Are there any South African LGBTI organisations you’re part of?
I founded Uthingo The Rainbow in
2012 and chaired the committee board for first
2 years till I resigned. I collaborated with Inkayiso Media which also serves as an LGBTI organization. I will be launching a Queer Identity Movement in 2015.
• Do you see a bright future for the LGBTI community as same sex marriage has been legalized in South Africa?
Definitely there is a brighter future. As the LGBTI community. we need to implement and focus on the rights the constitution has been made for us. Although We still struggle to make us visible and powerful in all we do. South Africa is the promised land and lets make it work, its all in our hands.
• Comparing the time you grew up and now, do you see any positive change in Societe’s mindset?
There is change. Although it’s not much but progress has been made in my community. There is stil room for improvement though!
• If you could wake up tomorrow as president of South Africa, what would you do for the LGBTI community?
It’s begins with education! I would implement programs in the public sectors and other government institutions about tolerance and understanding of sexuality. Secondly, support LGBTI organizations with purpose to help and eliminate hate crimes, bulling and discrimination of LGBTI community. Also work hand in hand with the justice system to install more harsher punishment for hate crime perpetrators.
• What do you think about people who hate and discriminate LGBTI individuals?
Little knowledge is dangerous! knowledge is the most powerful tool. To me, they need to inform themselves before they discriminate. Work on their own demons before being concerned about mine. Overall, they should get themselves lives and forget about what doesn’t concern them.
• What’s the best advise would you give to the LGBTI individuals who want to come out the closet but scared?
Educate yourself and gather ammunition before you fully come out.
Assess the family you have, the community and find support for when it doesn’t go well for you. I had my struggles, learned from them. I t’s totally ok to make mistakes, take them as a step towards a better you.
• What challenges do you come across in your career?
Ever since I started working, I had to make my colleagues understand my sexuality. Sometimes, it’s not necessary but it helps. Currently, my struggle is wearing male uniform. Thus disables me to be me, It’s uncomfortable. Worst part it tremendously affect my performance at work.
• Being Gay Does…not mean im a pervert
• Heterosexuals are… Insecure and the most boring sexuality ever.
• Social Networks and Homosexuality…Community connection via libertarians
•Twitter or Facebook – Both.
• Writing or Talking – Talking (debates are my favorites)
• Chubby or Skinny Guys – Skinny but well built.
• Outdoors or Indoors – Outdoors in the outskirts.
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