S.H.E Director Lee Anne (left) with Miss Trans Diva , Cowan Tracey Lee Douglas
photo credit: Nangamso Bethunana
When i told my parents about my decision to transition they immediately disowned me. I was kicked out and we never spoke for 3 years. Fortunately i moved in with my grandmother, besides her support and my friends’, everyone else abandoned me especially relatives. This was the most difficult period of my life, but it did not break me, life had to go on and so in March 2016, I began my medical transition.
It took this pain for my family to realise that i was not going to change. I underwent surgery without my family’s support when they heard about this, they felt so bad about it , they cried and asked for my forgiveness and that is how we reconciled.
My name is Cowan Tracey lee Douglas(21), i hail from East London, South Africa. I am a transwoman and i work for the Eastern Cape Department of Health. I was recently crowned Miss Trans Diva at a beauty pageant celebrating transwomen. For me the pageant is much more than just a place to flaunt our beauty, it is about celebrating ourselves and promoting our autonomy and rights as human beings. The world needs to know that Trans* people are human and should be treated equally. Our ideals in life are to be happy and live with dignity and respect.
I am an Ambassador for a trans organisation in Eastern Cape called SHE (Social Health Empowerment) S.H.E , better known as Impilo Yethu is a feminist collective of Transgender African women based in the Eastern Cape. S.H.E has three programs: The Impilo Yethu Health and HIV services for the LGBTIQ community. The feminist program and their Cultural program.
My goal as an activist is to contribute to the empowerment of transgender women to alleviate poverty in our communities. I want to be a role model who restores faith and hope in others. To give back to the trans community i voluntarily participate in outreach events, network and support other trans* people. Through unity I find the strength to inspire others and to fight against abuse towards Transgender women. I also facilitate workshops aimed at educating communities about trans issues. I am religious and can only thank God for providing me with the opportunity to do what i love.
Although i recently suffered a transphobic attack in which i sustained injuries and lost valuable personal belongings, i am thankful that i am still alive.
Trans is beautiful..
Interview: Eva Wilhelmina