​Cast aside at birth for being intersex

'I also just wish more people would understand that we, as intersex people, are human beings – real human beings' (AFP)

'I also just wish more people would understand that we, as intersex people, are human beings – real human beings' (AFP)

“I have been searching for my parents all my life. I was abandoned by my parents in the hospital I was born in — the rural hospital in Nkayi in Zimbabwe. I was born part of a triplet, but they left me and took my two brothers.
I think they abandoned me because I was born intersex, because I was the only one they left behind. It’s been 39 years now, but I’m still trying very hard to find them, because I don’t have a family.

“I grew up in an orphanage, where they just assumed I was a girl so they gave me a girl’s name, Thandiwe. But I identify as a man, especially because I don’t have any breasts. Growing up here was very hard. The other children were always laughing at me. So, going to school, I had very few friends.

“I lived at the orphanage until I was 17 years old. I went to college, where I studied electronics and sound engineering.

“I have a partner. We’ve been together for almost 12 years now — but it was very hard for me to open up to her at first. In fact, I could be intimate with her only after fours years together. But now I am happy I allowed myself to open up to her. She really understands me. She’s my everything. She brought me love I never had before.

“Being intersex can be very lonely. I wish I could tell all other intersex people that they are not alone; that there are many of us out there. I also just wish more people would understand that we, as intersex people, are human beings – real human beings.” —Malume Ngwenya, activist with Intersex Advocacy of Zimbabwe, as told to Carl Collison, the Other Foundation’s Rainbow Fellow at the Mail & Guardian

Carl Collison

Carl Collison

Carl Collison is the Other Foundation’s Rainbow Fellow at the Mail & Guardian. He has contributed to a range of local and international publications, covering social justice issues as well as art and is committed to defending and advancing the human rights of the LGBTI community in Southern Africa. Read more from Carl Collison

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