By Thomars Shamuyarira
Zsa-Zsa Fisher is a transgender womxn and a drag artiste who was born in Durban in a town called Wentworth, but grew up in Alra Park, Nigel near Johannesburg. Born to Mr and Mrs Fisher, she did not grow up with her father, he left when she was very young. “Typical black child story.” She says with a chuckle. Zsa -Zsa is the second child in a family of 6 children, 4 brothers and 1 sister.
Her school life started in Alra Park at what was then Suikerbosrand Primary School, completed her primary education at Assegai Primary School in Wentworth, Durban and proceeded to Fairvale High School. After which she did many courses over the years, Computer Training, Travel and Tourism Diploma, Leadership Training to mention just a few and is currently studying a Diploma in Psychology.
“I was 7 years old when I felt different and was attracted to the same sex. My feelings remained this way till I got older and realised that I was not just gay, but that I also did not identify with being assigned male at birth.” Zsa-Zsa shares. Started her social and medical transition four years ago, this decision based on her own emotions and how she felt. “My family was ok with it, I guess, as best as they could be. My siblings, nephews and nieces have adapted quite well. The younger generations are much more open-minded and it makes me hopeful that the future queer people might have it a bit easier than we do today.”
Zsa-Zsa is a drag artiste and is very passionate about it, this talent and passion helped her to know and understand who she truly was. Having been doing drag since 2006 and performed at many events and functions. “I still get called on to do private functions and always get amazing reviews. I started performing at a gay club where there was much exposure and a platform for drag. This club, sadly, has since closed. I love performing so much and I cannot wait to get back to it full time when things start normalising again.” Zsa-Zsa says with pride.
On acceptance by society Zsa-Zsa narrates “From my lived experience as a transwoman, I can tell you that society has not fully accepted that some people are different, their reasons/excuses for not accepting us are religious, cultural, ignorance etc. In most instances we are just tolerated, especially since the rise of masculinity and cis-normativity. There are just too many challenges that we face as the queer community and society at large. Stigma and discrimination, hate crimes, the exclusion of trans people in decision making for trans people, No trans-led organisations being given the opportunity to work on trans issues. Lack of proper healthcare service in place for trans people, lack of support for gender-affirming surgeries, lack of proper support for mental health issues among trans people including trans children, the list is endless.”
There is a great need for discussions on trans inclusion when it comes to celebrating women. Most discussions or events covered, discuss a very cis-perspective. Research shows that trans women are 49 times higher at risk of HIV infection, yet there is no urgency to support them at a primary healthcare level. We need our government to be more strict and hands-on on service delivery in all departments. We need more discussions through media on transgenderism and making it become part of daily discussion. Trans people need to be more than just visible, they need to be included in the working environment, and contribute to society.
As an activist, I am always working on something. Our people are being hated on every day. Food parcels are being distributed through a project I have been involved with. This will see at least 80 members from the LGBTQI+ community aided. Being the voice for the voiceless. This is an ongoing fight of mine, especially in organisations where trans people are, but not respected.
Message to Young Transwomxn
Trust yourself and never fear to be different. It is best to stand out of the crowd, than to fit in and never been seen or heard. When you are ready to be you, go for it. It will be the most liberating feeling you ever have. No matter what your age.
I have been standing up and fighting for my community for a while now but my greatest regret is not starting sooner. I guess all things happen when they have to. This is my time and I am going to keep helping where I can until we get to the promised land.