The vial: the temporal life of synthetic testosterone in South Africa (1993 – 2003)

Lubinsky, Noah
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In 2003 the South African Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs met to discuss changing legislation surrounding legal gender recognition for trans and intersex people. Advocating that legal gender recognition be granted with full autonomy, the Cape Town Transsexual/Transgender Support Group, led by Estian Smit and Simone Heradien, spoke at these parliamentary proceedings. Originally, no trans people had been informed of the parliamentary proceedings taking place, and so they had less than two months to prepare statements on the proposed legislation. Standing in front of parliament in 2003 to tell her story, Heradien spoke about the ideological shift in the country in relation to her understanding of herself: “[D]uring 1994 when the political terms reconstruction and development was the buzz word, I decided to follow suit” (Heradien 2003). As the South African state was grappling with a shift in racial relations, so too were gendered relations being questioned. This is perhaps most clearly illustrated in the way that Heradien links her transition directly to the idea of the rainbow nation, metaphorizing her trans becoming as part of “the era of Reconstruction and Development” (Heradien in Morgan et al 2009:134).
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the Degree of Master of Arts to the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, 2022