Share your story: Chase Tumahole – LGBTQIA+ journey

A non-binary person is someone who does not identify as exclusively a man or a woman. Someone who is non-binary might feel like a mix of genders, or like they have no gender at all. In a society that only acknowledges two genders (male or female), it can be hard to come out as non-binary. Chase Tumahole share’s their story about coming out as non-binary and what that meant for them,

“It all started under the dining room table with my baby cousin’s barbie doll. I’ve always felt different from the other boys. Yes, I played with and had male friends but I never experienced any homophobic behaviour from them, maybe it was because I centred myself around people, I felt comfortable with. 

My kindergarten years were my “who am I” and “what am I” phases. It was all mentally and physically confusing but being a child and never being made to feel uncomfortable about my behaviour was the best part about it. I grew up being a jolly kid, the only boy with a squeaky voice, always energetic, loud and the best dancer. 

I then got to grade 5 in the year 2008 where I discovered more boys like me, I swear it was the best thing that had happened in my life! That’s when I found my true self and started living life differently, my mindset changed and I never went back.   

I lived my teen years finding myself and getting used to being the different boy and still having to be accepted.

High school hit and let me tell you, it was a great experience because it was a proper introduction to the LGBTQIA+ community. There I got to see the community at large, I rediscovered myself, found who I am, and befriending boys like me changed the perspective of my neighbourhood. I was then breaking out of my shell and being exposed to a different lifestyle. I never had to come out to my family because I believe it was all in their eyes.

You don’t have to understand what it means for someone to be non-binary to respect them. Some people haven’t heard a lot about non-binary genders or have trouble understanding them, and that’s okay. But identities that some people don’t understand still deserve respect.

If you or a friend need support with coming to terms with your sexuality, you can get support from PFlag South Africa – Same Love, which provides peer counselling, support group meetings, and other services to the LGBTQIA+ community. You can also contact OUT wellness, which also provides psychosocial support services.

If you’d like to follow or engage with Chase, you can follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).