Personal narration by Carla Gulante
Refer to me as miss Carla Gulante born and bred in the Boland, currently residing in Wellington van Wyksvlei.
I was fourteen years old when I realised I was different. I questioned whatever I was feeling, because boys my age were not the same as I. I approached my mother, the one person who I was confident that she knew I was different from birth. I asked why I was like I was. Her answer was “Yes! You are different, I knew that moment I laid my eyes on you but I love you just the way you are.”
With that response I knew she had my back, and all the way. I knew my differences did not change the way she loved me. Then come the challenge! My father, my community, my peers and everyone around me saw as being weird. They did all they could to bring me down with words and actions towards me. Something that made me develop a low self-esteem, I felt like something was wrong with me, that I was different in a bad way and that God had made a mistake creating me.
When I finally told my father about my sexuality, he up and left, my whole family fell apart but still the woman who gave life to me had my back, she stood firm behind me and told me irrespective of my differences she loved me and that won’t ever be changed by how other people see me.
As time went by, I grew up and got to know myself better and embraced my differences. I was comfortable in my own skin. I told myself they will love me for me or just don’t. When I had finally gathered all my strength and courage, I faced my father! I wanted to know how he could neglect us just like that, after all I was his. Without expecting it he told me he had accepted me long time ago. He further told me he knew he was wrong for wanting me to be what he wanted but not what God created. I forgave him right there and then. Our bond was rebuilt. Finally, some happiness. Unfortunately, nature took its course and he passed away unexpectedly. My world fell apart. The moment I was just getting excited for him to get to know me, he never got a chance to, he was taken away.
After grieving, I picked myself up. I had to, I was not so fortunate to pick and choose, I had to take it as it was and accept my fate of being fatherless. Being the last born of my mother and father I knew I had to step up. It is then that I went to Stellenbosch hair academy and graduated as a hairstylist. I got my degree; I was the first in my family. I started my own business from home with help of my mom and sister. There was no choice because at that moment we had no income , my mother was unemployed and my sister is deaf, so I did it for them.