Intersex woman wants to people to educate themselves

LGBTQI+ activist Babalwa Mtshawu says many people don't understand what intersex means. Courtesy of #DSTV403

JOHANNESBURG - Babalwa Mtshawu is an intersex woman and activist for LGBTIQ+ rights but she said even within the LGBTIQ community, the "I" is almost invisible.

She said many people still need to educate themselves as they ask insensitive questions about her sexual orientation.

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Mtshawu remembered growing up she always knew she was different but it was only five years ago, when she was 25, that doctors finally put a name to it.

She explained, "my biological developments have always been, you know, flawed."

"For example, I grew up without any breast development and I did not go through puberty, so when my peers were getting hair in dodgy places, I never got that…so that was like alarming and I never got my period as well."

She said while she viewed the diagnosis as confirmation that she was, "more special than others".

There are still dark times in her journey and it's taken her years to accept who she is.

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Mtshawu said many people don't understand what intersex means.

She says dating has been challenging because she always has to explain but she has found love.

"I've had to watch my words because I'm always complaining, 'Oh my God I'm on my period' and she is just looking at me envious of that pain, and I get it because to have a period is part and parcel of being a woman," said Noluthando Hlophe.

Hlophe said Mtshawu has taken time to build up the courage to speak about who she is.

Mtshawu travels the world educating people about being intersex, and believes sharing information is important, so others who are like her don't feel alone.