And this is Thamsanqa.
Thamsanqa who is 32, who is cisgender, who is gay, who is a man, no specific order, just a light to follow.

Growing up in an underprivileged community of the Free State, little Thammy was the moffie. The little boy who played with girls, with dolls.
The little boy who played the mother when playing house.
The little boy who liked to put on female clothing.
The little boy who chased other little boys for kisses. And a little later, for a little more.
The little boy who was scolded for doing so, who was beaten for being such little boy. Because the little boy little Thammy was was not the little boy his family expected him, or any little boy, to be. They thought it was a disease, or a jinx. When they relocated to Cape Town, his mother advised him to stop being gay and flamboyant, for he would get killed for that.

But Thamsanqa never toned it down, and kept rolling with the punches. In spite of his brother beating him each time harder, of his mother burning his female clothes, Thamsanqa kept going on and kept walking further. Further away from a poverty and a lack of education he knew were the real danger.

As a matter of fact, Thamsanqa does not really blame people for the violence and intolerance he’s faced so far. He sort of does, but he sees bigger frames.
Thamsanqa knows that the scarcities his family was exposed to, exposed him to a greater oppression. The oppression that finds roots in multiple soils. Fertile ones.

Thamsanqa is a xhosa man. And it’s recently been an important topic. When he had to go to the bush, to get initiated into manhood, to undertake circumcision, no one would place their bets on him. Because of his feminine looks, of his homosexuality, Thamsanqa was predicted a harsh ulwaluko, and even death.
But Thamsanqa is still here and in the eye of his tradition, he is a man. You have to address him as such. However, and he insists, never forget the rest. He is proud of it all. A gay Black, feminine xhosa man.

Thamsanqa is a christian man. He’s been part of the Hillsong church for the past 8 years. As opposed to the Dutch reformed church he grew up in, he says Hillsong does a lot for the people. And it does not matter if the latter still has a hard time accepting him as he is. There is no one stopping him from going there. He’s found a place to pray and to meditate. Gay or straight, all christians are entitled to this right in a church.

Thamsanqa is an educated and determined man. He owes it to himself. He owes it to his identity. Out here, most gay people are educated, they have to. They need to make a living, to set the right example. Because gay people face prejudice, they have to work twice as hard, earn the community’s respect and give back. Boost themselves up.

Despite the oppression, despite intolerance, Thamsanqa never had a doubt. He says that if you want people to accept you, you have to overconfident them, force them into acceptance.
As a gay man, as part of the LGBTI community, it’s his duty to own his identity.
His nature is that of a man.
His features are that of a woman.
His scriptures are that of God.
And his spirit is noble, reaching toward highness.
He does not mind the challenges. God loves him as he is. He is not gay by mistake.
With his words full of wit, Thamsanqa has no doubt, being gay is a gift.

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