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Kyle Rath Vuka Award Finalist, University of Pretoria.

(read Gender DynamiX media release here)

'SMS: N39 TO 34599
http://vuka.mnet.co.za/WINNERS/Viewers-Choice-Competition-822.aspx  (See ad nr N39)

Charity is a fickle thing. When I heard we had to do a PSA (public service announcement) as a project, at the University of Pretoria, I held my head in my hands in dismay. The thing is with charity; we are always advised ‘which charities do and do not deserve our attention’, and this classification usually comes down to ‘what is South Africa ready for’. South Africa has always professed human rights this and human rights that, but it saddens me that in order to qualify for human rights, and by extension, to qualify as a human, one has to qualify as a ‘gender’.

Gender studies is a large part of what I review as a student at the University of Pretoria, and therefore, upon noticing the Gender Dynamix website, I realised that this PSA should no longer be treated as a philanthropic task, but rather as a critical reflection.

Who decides what a gender is or isn’t, or rather who isn’t? To classify people, human beings, so inflexibly according to this structure is something that we need to change. We cannot continue to marginalise, stereotype and simply shun people based on gender. With the help of technology, social anthropology can be revised and gender becomes a personal choice. Freedom of choice, I believe is what one refers to when citing the bill of rights, and I do hope that in the near future our government and our society can stick to their guns not, only when it suits them.  

My lecturer, ChenetteSwanepoel, assisted me in constructing a PSA that did not attempt to melodramatically ‘change the world’. Through this ‘information design’, she and I hope to simply inform people of what transgender folks experience before and after their reassignment of life. I do not expect the PSA to cure the world, but if one person is able to see this PSA and understand that they are in fact not diseased, and that there is a place for help, the PSA has worked.

I would also like to thank Gender Dynamix, especially Robert Hamblin, for taking the time to help me with this, what started out as a ‘project’, to push it and realise its full potential. If I have learned one thing from this experience it is to trust your ability. Not your creative or technical ability, your ability to make decisions for yourself. I plead that your interpretations are, as far as possible informed by your own critical understanding and not simply shaded by ‘because my daddy said so…’

The nomination from MnetVuka is fantastic, and thefact that they are (and have) flighting the advert is, for me, very exciting. We can be assured that one of our leading influential bodies in broadcast media is behind us in this venture and I hope that through their influence on such a huge arena we will be able to inform and promote a movement of tolerance.

Finally, if I am supposed to design according to ‘when South Africa is ready’, I am afraid we will be waiting for a long time. I take it upon myself and I challenge everyone who feels an inclination to this cause and causes of a similar nature to use, promote and support design as it is intended, as an agent of change.

Kyle Rath

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Gender DynamiX South Africa: The first African organisation solely for the transgender communtity. Committed to provide resources, information and support to transgender people, their partners, family, employers and the public.