This month’s issue is all about self acceptance, living authentically and not boxing ourselves. 

This can be a hard concept when we live in a world that has a rigid understanding of sex, gender and sexual orientation. I grew up never questioning my gender nor my orientation, as it was always dictated to me. It was only as a young adult that I discovered that I was not heterosexual, but had a fluid sexuality. With the topic of this issue, I also realised that I had never sat down and truly reflected on how I identify from a gender perspective. Again, I was prescribed a set of behaviours and how I should express said gender, based on the binary we have all been indoctrinated with since the day we are born. 

I grew up in an evangelical church, where girls and women could not wear pants, had to have hair (but locks were forbidden) and had to behave in clearly defined feminine ways. Now this is an extreme example of gender expression being dictated to us, but if we consider some of the gender expressions that have been normalised but make no sense, we would realise that any dictation of how we should present ourselves to the world is extreme. Why should it matter if I choose to wear pants and rock a chiskop? So what if a man chooses to wear a skirt or a long wig? None of these things are gendered, except that we as humans have decided to gender them. 

What happens when you neither identify as male or female, or you identify with both? We have made strides when it comes to queer representation, even adopting language which is representative of people who do not subscribe to the labels he or she, but we still have a long way to go in ensuring that we represent all facets of queerness. Let us spend some time learning about gender queerness and non-conformity, in the same way as we have worked to understand orientation. 

In this issue, Marlon 67 elaborates on pronoun usage and his revelation that gender is in fact not binary, but a spectrum. Katlego also shares on showing up as your authentic self and the journey it takes to arrive at this, as well as The Purple Fly’s instalment where he talks about self-acceptance. On the lighter side, you will also find Iyanda’s guide to wardrobe essentials and a short film review. We also highlight some work by gender queer individuals, like the children’s book author who wrote ‘Boipelo’s Family Tree’. But I wouldn’t be doing this issue justice if I didn’t mention Sis Tamara, who is gracing our cover. Ukho ‘Sis’ Tamara’ Samela’s presence is infectious, and this comes through in the feature written by Motlatsi. 

Lastly, part of showing up authentically is having a spirit willing to learn and grow. At times there will be misunderstandings, but it is important to be humble and acknowledge where improvements need to be made. We as Exit received feedback on last month’s issue, that since it was Womxn’s month, we should have had a womxn on the cover. We acknowledge this feedback and have taken it to heart, and we will ensure we take this feedback on going forward. We as an organisation are always open to feedback, and you can provide such by contacting us on info@exit.co.za.

I hope you enjoy this month’s issue, and that it inspires you to be kind to yourself, find acceptance in your quirks, see that you are not alone, and that you release your wiggle. 

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