My name is Ntokozo R Dube also known as Stacie.
I’m a transvestite who stays in Minnebron. I was born 22 years ago in a very small town called Plumtree in Matebeleland South of Zimbabwe. From a very young age I felt differently about myself. Every time I looked in the mirror instead of seeing a young boy all I saw was a little girl.
I spent time with girls instead of boys. I would sometimes play dress up in my mom’s closet. I didn’t understand what was happening with me. I didn’t know what being gay meant, never even seen or heard of a gay person, because where I come from they say it’s a criminal offense. My family thought I would change as I grow up, but that didn’t happen.
When I reached teenage hood I realized that I had feelings for other boys. I didn’t know what to do. I was confused, angry, depressed ashamed and angry. I went to a boarding school where I met different kinds of people. I noticed that some boys acted and behaved like I did, but I was afraid to talk to them about that subject. I was scared that it would raise suspicions and get me charged for homosexuality. So I maintained a distance between me and all of them.
I eventually made friends with most of those guys and that’s when they sort of told me that I am a “stabane”. I was very angry with them. I felt like they were insulting and humiliating me. I made friends with this other girl who was/is lesbian, and she explained to me what being gay meant. She was sort of well informed, but I couldn’t understand nor accept that I was gay.
A few years later I came to South Africa and stayed with my sisters. One day we were in a taxi from Thokoza to Phola Park, and there was this lady (as I assumed), my sister whispered in my ear “yistabane lo”. I was confused mostly because when I looked at her I pictured myself having that courage to come out and stroll about in red stilettos like her.
I wanted to ask my sister how that person came to be but I was scared that she’ll pick up that I’m gay and react. So I decided to keep quiet and stay in the dark. A few months later I moved to Soweto to stay with my male cousin. He used to ask me why I didn’t have a girlfriend at my age.
To avoid being a subject of gossip I dated a girl. It felt unreal and weird because I didn’t have feelings for her or any other girl for that matter. So I dumped her when my cousin was convinced that I was a “man”. I was still lost and confused. I tried a lot of things to be a “real man”.
I had circumcision and even slept with a lot of girls hoping to change into a man that everyone and myself expected to be, but that was just a waste of time and energy because that wasn’t who I am.
One sunny day in December I met this charming guy. The minute I laid my eyes on him my heart pumped faster. It was like am having a mini heart attack but I didn’t say anything to him. To my surprise the guy asked me out, I pretended to be angry and lied to his face “hey wena ngiyindoda yangempela, angiso stabane” (I’m a real man, I’m not gay).
I tried to turn him down but the true person inside me couldn’t resist what she saw, so I gave in and dated the guy. Whenever I was with him, his touch and his kiss felt so real. For the very first time in my life I felt happy and comfortable about my sexuality.
On the 24th of December 2011 I decided to come out to my family and everyone that I am gay. I sent everyone close to me a message about my decision. I was scared that they’ll reject or hate me. I thought of what people back at home would say. I imagined myself being a subject of idle gossip at shops, schools, river and everywhere. I was so scared.
To my surprise ¾ of my family accepted, supported and loved me unconditionally.
It was the best Xmas gift from me to me. I let out the diva that I was hiding inside me; I changed my entire closet and did my hair. I was so happy and alive more than I have ever been before. I contested in many pageants the likes of Miss Gay Uthingo, Miss Gay Daveyton, Valentine and Miss Gay Jozi; and all thanks go to my “mom” Lesiba Mothibe who groomed me to be a queen that I am today.
My dream is for LGBTI communities in other countries to have this freedom we have here in Mzansi. It’s a long way to go but if we stand up, unite and fight for what is rightfully ours, we will win our right to freedom. I wish I could do something to bring LGBTI freedom rights to those countries, especially in my home country.
I am so happy to be living my life the way I’m supposed to.
What more do I need?
Let me guess, I want nothing because everything will happen when I’m the person I’m supposed to be not a fake person I was struggling and faking to be.