I was a good footballer at school. Whenever we played, girls cheered and screamed my nick name, which, of course, I didn’t mind. Others, however, called out “trasi”, meaning that I had the genitals of both sexes. I did mind this, and was deeply hurt and embarrassed by it however; these comments did not discourage me from playing my favorite sport and, at 26 years of age, I still play.
I grew up being regarded as a tomboy. I never liked wearing girls’ outfits and I kept my hair shorts. In Lobatse, as in most places in Botswana, few people knew anything about sexuality or gender identity, and my tom-boyishness was a mystery. As a child, I was powerless; I couldn’t always have things my way as societal norms dictated my appearance.
At primary school and at church on Sunday, I was forced to wear clothes that matched my biological make up. Teachers were very confused by my biological sex because I was registered as a girl but, physically, I was a boy. I was born female, but I feel masculine and identify myself as a man. My masculine traits manifested to protect and defend girls from their male aggressors, and this often earned me the type of punishment usually reserved for boys.
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