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Embracing Identity

Neo (he/him), a 22-year-old from Mabopane in Pretoria, proudly steps forward to share his experiences as a member of the bisexual community, shedding light on the tribulations faced by LGBTQIA+ people within his local community and family circles.

Neo’s journey began in childhood, where his preference for hanging out with girls instead of doing typical ‘boys’ activities made him seem different. This made him feel like an outsider and isolated from others. “I always felt a bit different, I preferred the company of girls and wasn’t much into the typical ‘boys’ activities. I used to do things like play tennis with female classmates in primary school.” Neo shares.

As Neo moved through school, things started becoming difficult, as he faced discrimination amongst peers, and only found comfort in a friend who understood him. Obakeng was that one friend, and his constant support was a source of confidence. “Obakeng was like a guardian angel, he stood by me when others turned away,” Neo recalls.

Neo faced more challenges when he started excelling academically. His classmates became jealous of his achievements and started spreading negative rumours about him, blaming his success on inappropriate relationships with teachers. “People questioned my integrity. It was easier for to them to believe in scandal than in my hard work,” Neo explains.

“During this period, I also became the target of exploitation by an individual who unfairly blamed me for things I couldn’t control.”

Most members of the LGBTQIA+ community face similar challenges and more in our country. Although the South African constitution was amongst the first in the world to protect the rights of sexual and gender minorities, people in our communities are still ill-informed when it comes to sexualities.

Neo Embracing his Identity

Throughout all the challenges and false accusations, Neo had the support of friends while he discovered who he truly was. By embracing his own identity, he highlighted the wide range of human experiences and showed that gender expression isn’t limited to traditional ideas of masculinity.

In a world marked by prejudice and discrimination, Neo passionately advocates for LGBTQI+ people to live their true selves without fear. As we celebrate Pride Month, let’s come together to support and accept each other’s differences. Every person and every identity adds beauty and value to our world.

Stand Proud LGBTQI+ Leaflet