Life Story: Munir van Reenen

My name is Munir and I am a 33-year-old trans man. I knew I was different before the age of ten because I did not “act like a girl”. I did everything the boys did, like running around without a t-shirt, playing with boys and boy’s toys. I was definitely different.
My father died when I was a baby and my mom never reprimanded me or ever told me I was a girl and should act like a girl. She bought me what I wanted in terms of clothes and toys. The boys also just accepted me as part of the friendship circle.

As I grew older and into my teens, I started backing away from boys and started joining the girls’ group because that was what was expected of me. Boys started showing an interested in me, but I was only interested in girls.

I never thought that it was possible to transition from female to male. I started out late and it was only because of a gynaecologist who did some research and came across information on transitioning that I learnt about being transgender. This was in 2008 and in 2009 I started seeing a sexologist working with transgender issues for the obligatory three months. I was invited to meet with the transgender panel at Groote Schuur Hospital. I then had top-surgery done and started taking testosterone.

My mom does not talk about my transition, but she is silently supportive. I have two sisters and a brother, who are all very accepting. My eldest sister, however, says that she will only stop trying to convince me not to go through with the transition once I have fully transitioned. The other sister is okay with it while my brother thinks it’s “cool”.

I do intend to go all the way with the transition process. When I went for the hysterectomy, I was very emotional and not very sure whether I wanted to go through with it. There was definitely a bit of doubt in my mind for a while.

I have an eight-year-old son, so do not worry too much about not being able to have a “normal” family. However, I do worry about future relationships and wonder how they would feel about the fact that they would never be able to have child by me. I am not in a relationship at the moment.

In the beginning my ex-girlfriend and I was very excited about my transition. But as time went on, she drew away from me more and more. She had never been involved with a female before and could not get past the fact that I had been born a female.

There was also a girl I was chatting with on Mixit. At first that went well because she thought I was a biological male. When I told her the truth, she backed off, saying that she had never been involved with a woman before and couldn’t get her head around the fact that I was still a woman. They did not understand about Gender identity.

I never really experienced problems at my place of work. The company I was working for at the time accepted me as I presented and even allowed me to wear the male uniform and use the gent’s toilet. The director called a staff meeting and explained the situation. She also offered to answer any questions the staff may have.

My son is very involved in my life. When I first came out I explained things to him and also took him to see a therapist. But if at any point of my transition he wants me to stop I will. I think we underestimate children in what they understand and the way they see things. My son knows what’s happening and at the present moment he accepts me just for what I am.

The future is not something I thinks about much. I try not to think ahead or about what might happen. One question I’ve always asked, though, is why I had to wait so many years before I finally got to hear about transgender and what transitioning entails. I hope that others like me will find the necessary information while they are young and not lose hope because they do not know where to go.


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Posted by lina.waru, on 27-02-2011 14:28, , Guest
1. Ms
The issue of defining and finding ones identity is very crucial in all society that I have interacted with. Your very honest sharing is so powerful not only to those who are going through the experience but more so to the enire humanity.  
Un fortunately the community where I come from has criminalized the issue of same sex relations under our Penal Code Act, such people have to live in secrecy and fear, some I know have been arrested others killed. Yet we have real big time criminals out of those jails. 
You are a great person, Long live!!!!

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