“I stand in front of the mirror as I remind myself that I don’t have to wear the uniform anymore. I don’t have to dress myself in men’s attire. I can grow out my nails, and paint them with polish. I am finally free to have my ears pierced. I can speak in the voice that I’ve spent so many hours cultivating with my speech therapist. I don’t have to hide my disgust anymore at being called “boet” or “sir”. I no longer have to tolerate any references to my deadname.”
Anastacia has fought hard for her right to live, held back for decades by a body that didn’t fit, and an identity that never belonged to her. At first, it had seemed impossible – like transition was some romantic, impractical ideal that was incompatible with reality. But now, after five months of hormone therapy, countless sessions of painful laser hair removal, multiple appointments with doctors and psychologists, it is very much a reality.
Born into a Jewish family in Johannesburg and raised by her parents as a boy, Anastacia Tomson was never sure just how much of her persistent internal discomfort to blame on an often troubled family life. She qualified and practised as a doctor, but it would take a great deal more clear-sighted and difficult questioning to finally find peace and self-acceptance, as a woman. This memoir is a clarion call for a more nuanced understanding of trans people and the concepts of sex, gender and identity.
About the Author
Anastacia Tomson grew up in Johannesburg and graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Pretoria. She has worked as a general practitioner both in the public and private sectors, as well as having a background in freelance journalism. Anastacia has a passion for activism and advocacy, with a specific interest in promoting access to healthcare for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. She is a vocal feminist and strives to further the visibility and understanding of transgender issues at every opportunity.
'Always Anastacia – A Transgender Life in South Africa' is published by Jonathan Ball publishers