Reflections on Ex-Gay Treatment by South African Trans Woman

Rarely does a narrative capture so many of my passions as the one I read yesterday and wish to share with you today. Having spent 17 years as an ex-gay and then over 10 recovering, then moving into the arena of exploring gender, transgender issues and the Bible all the while dating a dishy South Africa writer, I was so pleased to read a South African, Christina Engela her piece about her own transition along with a reflection of the US-based ex-gay movements affects on South Africa.

Over the past few months a war of words has been raging over the activities of “ex-gay” groups in the USA and around the world wherever they have set up affiliates or branches of their own – including in my own country, South Africa. The ex-gay” movement operates on a purely religious basis and claims solely out of a misinterpretation of religious dogma, that gay (or trans) people can and should either deny their nature – or “change“. They claim all sorts of “studies” and “proof” exist to support their theories, but the truth is that no such evidence exists – and that every reputable medical, scientific and psychological institute, authority or body asserts that “conversion therapy” – IE attempts to change sexual orientation by “ex-gay” industry, is dangerous, risky and harmful to those it affects.

Christina Engela Age 27

All this has prompted me to look back – and inwards, to a time when I was struggling for self-acceptance, and to find my own identity.

The very first thought I can remember which indicated to me that there was something “different” or “abnormal” about me (those are increasingly dangerous and stigmatized words these days) was when I was three years old and sitting on a potty, looking at my genitalia and thinking “that shouldn’t be there”. I am sure it is no coincidence that many of my best ideas since then have also come to me under similar circumstances. *Grin*

I had a t-shirt which was a bit large for me that I used to parade around in at home, that was my “dress”, when I tramped around the flat in – or rather on – my moms shoes. And later I had a pair of pink shorts I loved so much I wore them out in record time!


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