n Gender Questions - Case study narrative accounts of gender and sexual orientation in young black women from an Eastern Cape township in South Africa

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2309-9704



In South Africa, the experiences of gender non-conforming young women, as a population separate from adults, are understudied. This article explores what distresses young gender non-conforming females from a South African township. The challenges facing such women growing up in a township in the Eastern Cape province in South Africa are discussed and illuminated through case studies of participants' personal accounts. The sample was obtained through snowballing. One-on-one in-depth interviews were held and subjected to domain analysis. Domains discovered were: pressure to conform to a female gender identity to be like a lady; being misunderstood in their communities; and disapproval from peers, family and other members of society. The challenges young, black, gender non-conforming girls faced in growing up were based on familial, personal and social factors. Familial and social environments, such as the school, seemed to have a policing effect. Concerns about being isolated, ousted and alienated from society resulted in perceptions that their homes and schools were unsafe and insecure environments. Education and culturally competent support services are needed to educate families about the importance of offering protective support to adolescents, and for schools to create a comfortable environment for gender non-conforming female learners.

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