Intersex Activist Tatenda Ngwaru: “Confirming I Was A Woman Was Like Telling Me I Am A Black Person”

Recently relocated from Zimbabwe to New York City, Ngwaru reveals her struggle as an intersex woman seeking asylum.

This letter is part of our inaugural editorial series, “Letter to Myself,” in which we asked 40 remarkable queer people to write a note to their younger selves.

I do not remember when exactly I decided to make the choice of being myself. Why? Because it was never a choice to begin with.

All I remember now is how much people wanted it to look like a choice and also the rejection from people who surrounded me when I told them I was a woman.

The transition for me was smooth. The doctors confirming I was intersex and a woman was like telling me the obvious, that I am a black person.

I would tell my younger self to love herself even more because if I did without hesitation I wouldn’t have suffered like I did. The rejection instilled a lot of self-hate in my soul and this invited negative energies from people toward me.

Choice sounded like a privilege at the time. Had I been able to choose my life and who I am, I think I would have wanted to just be “normal,” so that when I walk no one points a finger at me or talks about me.

Today, I know that my life is meant to inspire someone, bring joy to someone, bring clarity to someone, and that is the greatest gift anyone can ever be.

Tatenda Ngwaru has sought asylum in New York City from Zimbabwe where she is continuing her intersex advocacy.

Read more letters here.

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