Lesotho: Call me ‘they’ – then I can be me

In the first of a new series of guest blogs from citizen journalists in southern Africa, Bokang Bane talks to Layla, a transwoman from Lesotho, about the importance of respecting preferred pronouns.

'You can’t make assumptions about which personal pronoun someone prefers based on their appearance.’

Layla, who used to be called Relebohile Motaung, was male-assigned at birth. Society expected her to fall in with her peers – to act as other boys did. However, this wasn’t how Layla felt or how she wanted to live, and, like any other citizen born and raised in Lesotho, she had to go through the process of acquiring identity documents. This quickly became an issue, especially when it came to ticking a gender-marker box. Identifying as a transwoman and being stuck with identification documents that contradict that identity, is one of the most difficult issues that Layla faces.

‘It’s very important to ask someone’s preferred pronoun to make them feel comfortable with you – to talk about anything without fear,’ she says. Read more via Avert