From grass to grace, my transition in hostile Zimbabwe

CALM AND COLLECTED … Zimbabwean Trans* activist Dzoe  Ahmad

As a teenager she had no friends, people labelled her a  taboo and her father an ardent Muslim  Sheikh condemned her as a shame.  “I lost my confidence in things l loved, l felt useless, unlike  other school kids  l had  no  interest in sport or any  social activities, i was just a  loner.”

Dzoe Ahmad recalls  her with sadness how she spent most of her childhood feeling stuck and isolated. Born in  1988 on the 13th of June one of the coldest months in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, her  life was not smooth sailing having brought up in a very  religious family. This pressure meant that she  had to abide by the religious doctrines  and behave in a certain manner to please  her family and society.

Today, Dzoe an inspiring activist and role model in the Zimbabwean transgender community celebrates the pain she felt during her entrapment, “Without those tears, l couldn’t be having freedom and family acceptance from my loved ones. Dzoe who is currently studying towards a diploma in business management believes that her life’s challenges have shaped the person she is.

” l believe my challenges, struggles and difficulties  have moulded me to be the brave and courageous human being i am.”

Below Queerstion Magazine  Southern Africa co-editor Eva Wilhelmina shares the  interview with the resilient  trans activist Dzoe. 


What does being Transgender mean to you

We were all born with human rights and dignity regardless of one’s sexual orientation and gender identity, In the eyes of the Lord, we are equal. Being Trans means l was born as a child like others but my uniqueness made me different from others. l celebrate being a unique and different human being. ”

What is it like to be a transgender woman  transitioning in Zimbabwe

“The struggle is real but it takes being brave to overcome this. In  Zimbabwe Transgender rights are not recognised as human rights, there is not enough knowledge about our issues and medical personnel also lack understanding and sensitivity.  For example, accessing  public medical services such as  hormonal treatment is impossible. This is why most of us self-medicate. I administered myself with female hormones for a month, unfortunately i had to stop because i was scared i would overdose and develop health complications.

How did you deal with these challenges you faced

Once i let go of all the anger and fear that haunted me, i forgave myself for  having blamed myself for all my bad experiences, then i found healing. This  is how inner  healing truly  saved me. Today   I  proudly celebrate my transition. The strength in me built the courage and power to overcome hateful people and now I am the woman l always dreamt i was. The moment l started living my truth, l found true happiness and peace in my heart.

woman with a plan…Dzoe at work.
What  motivates you
Setting  goals pursuing them and being an inspiration to  the young and old in our community. I am a hard working woman who believes in the power of doing YOU. l believe in order for you to live like a Queen you have to work like a slave.
Tell us more about these goals
I set goals every morning and i work so hard to achieve them. I prepare myself mentally and  l believe success is not an overnight miracle. My biggest goal is to be a motivational speaker and a feminist to empower other  women, motivate each other to work hard and pushing for equality.
What are your words of wisdom or advice to other Trans* people
 Power is not given to you, take it! Fear blocks your way to success, break that fear and  say goodbye to hate, depression and stress. Life is so beautiful only if you have found healing and you shall glow and sparkle in the dark. Above all, the moment you become true to yourself people will accept the person you are and God will bless you ten times.

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