Reasons why I wanted to do these mini-series stories, is because we’re not educated enough on Transgender issues and sensitivity.
Small things such as pronouns and asking sensitive questions to someone who is going through their transition. We need to watch ourselves. Even if you’re in the LGBTQI+ community.
We need to watch how folks in the community are quick to silence the “T” or “Q”. The passive transphobia almost slipping past our own tounges and not being aware of their presence in our spaces. Even if you are aware, how are we making sure that we’re not being violent in our mannerism and conduct?
Some people in the LGBTQI+ community still perpetuate cisheteropatriarchy. How will we disrupt the normative views? Especially in the creative industry?
You might know Kat as “Katboymeetsgirl” – the name says it all. Kat has been in her transition and has been fully aware of her sexuality and gender identity from a very young age.
I got to spend some time with her in the past weekend, and I’m very grateful for that because it has allowed me to shape this piece with a better understanding.
I caught up with her for a few questions and got to kiki with the good sis.
1. I know asked this question before. But I need to know where your headspace is with our current climate – what’s your view on the LGBTIQ+ community in South Africa?
What I think of our community is… that there’s not a lot of unity, especially being a transgender amongst gay men, they will make you feel like you’re not woman enough to be a woman. There’s a lack of understanding of each others’ dynamics as a whole community. I’ve never been entirely accepted by a lot of gay, transgender, and lesbians because of the person I am.
I’m not my medical situation, I’m a woman first and most people in our community don’t get that. Not everyone has to be an activist to be validated as a “South African Transgender woman”. I believe that I don’t have to voice out my issues and what I think needs to change, selfish people are the happiest and that’s me. I’m very selfish with my happiness. The LGBTIQ stands by itself and will always be a strong community because of what it stands for, but there should be more unity within the community. Then our rainbow will make sense.
2. A lot of people don’t understand the transition. Is there any advice you would give to someone who is going through their own transition?
My advice is: start now rather than later ’cause the process in South Africa takes forever, therefore you’ll need all the time in the world.
Don’t be afraid to live the life you want to live, transitioning is not only about the way you look, there’s more to transitioning than just looking like a woman. Transitioning is not easy but it can be done. You have to be patient and make sure you make yourself happy before anything else. But first, the transition starts with knowing what you want.
3. Education around Transgender issues needs to be prioritised, do you think there are enough programs in SA that aim to do that?
I don’t think there are enough programmes but there are people doing the education, which is a good start. The process takes time. Especially in our country, which frustrates me but I believe that I’m enough information, or a good example rather, for the next person who is curious and wants to understand what it means being transgender. I believe that I’m capable of making the slightest difference by just being open about being a transgender woman and that’s the power I think we have.
Follow Kat on Instagram: @katboymeetsgirl
Side note, you can listen to Kat’s top 3 favourite songs:
With that said, do leave a comment below or tweet me and let’s talk about how we can be better at being a community and having unity. Understanding that there are dynamics and we should be decolonising our own community from these constructs.
Initially, I wanted to publish these mini-stories during Transgender Awareness Week, which was from 13 – 20 November.
It raises the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people and also addresses issues that the community is facing. With tweets popping up here and there, it just wasn’t enough.
‘Do you cav‘ the vision?’ – Jo’burg Proverb
I thought to myself about the issues within our black millennial LGBTIQ+ community from the South African context. We’ve been labeled with a certain complex and we need to clear up some things. But that’s an issue we need to dissect later on.
I got the opportunity to connect with one of my faves, Glow, and speak to her on certain issues within society, her top 3 music tunes (because why not?) and thing’s she’s working on.
Glow is fast becoming the voice of reason within the creative industry, using her identity to shift perceptions and make a social impact on media platforms through her YouTube channel.
1. What’s a typical day like in the life of Glow?
Well, i recently left my job and ever since then, no day is ever typical. It’s on either end of extremes, with some functionality of cause…
2. Top 3 songs that describe you?
1 – For god so loved us / Selaelo Selota.
2 – Loveeeeee song ft Future / Rihanna.
3 – Jamie xx / the rest is noise.
3. What’s your view on the current LGBTIQ+ community in South Africa?
Which community? I don’t feel the sense of community, to be honest, it feels a lot of times like its all very individualistic. I guess we have a long way to go in terms of ACTUALLY being a community of support for each other and fighting for justice? However, generally, I think we’ve made strides – there’s representation on TV now consistently, and that matters in terms of progress and where we come from.
4. You’ve spoken out about your transition before, is there any advice you would give to someone who is going through their own transition?
Disassociate yourself from the comparison, it’ll kill you inside and make you hate yourself, you already got the world doing that – don’t do that to yourself, too.
Acquaint yourself with those parts of yourself you hate, get to know them, hear them out – they’re worth the same love you so easily give to the parts of your body the world tells you are desirable.
Celebrate that body and all of its’ functions and understand you are far more than it or what it can do. You’re magic- know this and remind yourself of it every day I guess.
5. The importance of education around Transgender issues needs to be prioritised, even though we have inclusive laws, do you think there are enough programs in SA that aim to do that?
I think there are programs, I just don’t know if there’s enough or if they do enough or if they even have enough budget. That’s where the ‘enough’ gets catchy, I just don’t know which one exactly is missing.
Look, I quite enjoy my conversations and the times I’ve got to interact and hang around Glow. We’re big supporters of each others’ craft, vision and aims in life. We’re aiming for the stars.
Follow Glow here:
Naomi “Nai Palm” Saalfield is the frontwoman of the R&B neo-soul futuristic, Grammy-nominated band from Australia, and she just gave us her solo offering recently, which is effortlessly raw and emotional.
Nai Palm explained herself during an interview with Billboard when she performed the album’s songs at an intimate concert in Brooklyn. Palm specifically wanted the album’s focus to be in her voice. She “wanted to explore the potential for immortality and timelessness within her music by stripping away the produced layers to focus on the element that is closest to the source of the human soul, the voice”. And she did that.
Needle Paw is a 13-track journey of reclaimed energy. The first track is a healing chant – “Wititj (Lightning Snake) Pt. 1” and eventually closing with its “Pt. 2.” features Jason Guwanbal Gurruwiwi and pays homage to the indigenous culture of Nai Palm’s native Australia. No lies, I’m not as clued up on with my history regarding the native/indigenous Australian people – but from the little I know, this group of people (Aboriginals) are amongst the most oppressed and often silenced.
Rappers such as Drake, Kendrick Lamar and singer-songwriter Anderson .Paak have sampled Hiatus Kaiyote staple songs. “Atari”, the second song to appear on the album was also sampled on Kendrick’s DUCKWORTH from his 2017 studio album DAMN. “Crossfire” is a Needle Paw original that pairs with a classic cover of Tamia’s “So Into You”, a perfect transitional balance for an R&B bop.
Needle Paw is filled with gospel-like harmonies, sweet-broken guitar strums, vocal runs and sharp lyrics that make you hum along throughout. She demands her voice to be heard. It’s an acoustic intimacy more than anything. Her song choice and merging of classic songs as well make it nothing but perfect.
Palm honours music legends and probably her biggest inspirations such as Jimi Hendrix on “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)”, David Bowie’s cover of “Blackstar” and Radiohead “Pyramid Song” paired with Hiatus Kaiyote’ Grammy-nominated Best R&B performance “Breathing Underwater”.
This woman is a dream. She also gives nod to 80s gaming console sounds and references Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time character on “Mobius” – (“ancient psychic tandem war elephant”) as she sings on the song.
She draws her inspirations from reality and a metaphysical realm and exhaling that energy into her pen game and vocal deliverance.
Needle Paw has a consistency whereby the album’s palette allows the songs to merge and blend together if you had to play it in one sitting. Most of the song’s on the album are HK reworks that have been stripped down.
My favourite songs on the album have to be Homebody, Borderline With My Atoms, Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
Album Rating: 9.5/10
This piece is basically inspired by what i was tweeting about after Day 1 of fashion week:
Damn the local fashion industry will not go anywhere if we keep saying everything is “great”.
— needle paw (@lelowhatsgood) October 25, 2017
I’d like to start off by saying, fashion week IS a big deal. There are jobs and careers on the line, designers spend thousands of Rands to showcase a collection and show it to key media and the general public. How accessible it is, is a story for another day.
This year saw all walks of life gathering at the Sandton City rooftop, the “new home of SAFW” – which I still don’t get. A better venue than Hyde Park Corner nonetheless. Here’s the main frustration without beating around the bush; seating. Media is there to generate real-time content showing runway looks by said designers and give great, quality images. Are they expecting people do that from the back of a marquee?
Fine. Whatever. General South Africans have come down to a point where they just do not care about fashion weeks. Day 1 shows followed by outcries by some popular influencers, bloggers, and a few people in media could only mean one thing.
Just a few examples…
All these fashion events but no real return or support for the designers,models and glam teams who have to create and then be critiqued. 😶
— ⚡️⚡️⚡️ (@boogymaboi) October 25, 2017
Followed by some of this:
I have seen a lot of tweets challenging the notion of designers being critique on their shows at fashion weeks. Are you kidding me?
— Nicola Cooper (@NicolaCoop) October 26, 2017
We only deal with #FAX – S/O to Nicola Cooper.
The highlight and buzz of that day were purely because of Rich Mnisi and Thebe Magugu. While I got to see the show on social media, I did however get to enjoy the AKJP installation earlier during the day at SMAC Gallery, Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank. Stunning. They served champagne, darling.
During the course of fashion week, I encountered and got connected with a few creatives such as my new faves Ricci-Lee Kalish (AKA Big Bad Wolf), Luyanda Madonia and Ayanda Nhlapo just to name a few – who all had the same chat about how problematic fashion week can be, how it can be fixed, and how no one ever really listens to what we have to say.
The girls served looks, nonetheless.
We also cannot be talking about the same thing each year. On a positive note though, SAFW actually gives designers great exposure and better opportunities, given the sponsorships it has. Still. The bar needs to be raised each year to make it an experience for those attending – media, and the general public. We’ve been on the same pace, going nowhere, slowly.
The vibe was anything but exciting. Menswear saved that entire week – designers ranging from Floyd Avenue, Roman Handt, Tailor Me, Vintage Zionist x AFROPUNK and Urban Outlaw 69 just to name a few.
Will it get better? We will never know. Is the industry growing? Girl, i guess.
Here are some of my favourite looks!
Credit: Eunice Driver, Eunice Driver Photography
I’ll be honest and say, the first time i’ve ever heard of Kelela was on Solange’s ‘Scales’ late last year. I was captured. This lead me to the discovery of her musical discography from there on.
I remember listening to her 2013 mixtape Cut 4 Me, which was closely followed by a 2015 EP ‘Hallucinogen’. If anything, her consistency and follow up to the much awaited LP is something to be celebrated.