Everything begins with you, by firstly accepting and loving yourself unconditionally. – Tebogo
Have you ever wondered why our world is in so much chaos? I believe it’s because we fear to accept our true sexual orientation and identity.
Let me break it down for you:
As a boy, I was raised in a very religious family and having a father that was a Pastor made my life chaotic because I felt I had to portray myself as someone that I wasn’t.
I am Tebogo, the boy who felt forced to play a role and to fake everything he was, just because I was afraid of my sexual orientation. I was terrified of being judged or discriminated against. Time went by, and I decided to try and change myself because everyone around me kept saying that being gay was a choice.
LOL! I tried! I joined a soccer team called Elsburg Junior Jomo Cosmos.
Imagine! Soccer kit. Shin guards and all that stuff! We had night matches, and everything was so “straight”. During this time, I asked myself: “Am I homosexual? Am I ready to decide now? Was I doing the soccer thing for myself or to please the people around me?”
Eventually, I put so much effort in that I became the captain of the team, but inside, nothing changed, I was still gay.
My goal was to change, but I had stayed the same. I decided then that I had to quit the team and find myself. I played my last match and went straight home, ready to burst the bubble.
When I got home, everyone, including the Pastor himself (my dad) was there. Before anyone had a chance even to ask how the match went, I began to cry. The first words I managed to utter were: “I am gay.
Their response caught me by surprise. Everyone seemed relaxed, and some even started laughing, as if what I had said wasn’t that big deal.
My sister then reassured me. ” Psssh! Who did you think were you trying to fool with your soccer playing? We all know exactly who you are. We know that you’re gay! Soccer players can still be gay too.”
Honestly, I was in shock as I looked at the members of my family. Eventually, my dad’s eyes met with mine, and as I was about to say I was sorry to him, he interrupted me with these powerful words: “Don’t bother apologizing to me for who you are. Wipe away those tears because in my heart I am happy with my son. I’m happy that you had the guts to face me even when you thought there would be repercussions. Yes, I am a Pastor, but you are still my son. Everything begins with God. What matters most is that you accept and love yourself because, in the LGBT community, everyone is just being themselves.”
In that moment, peace was within me and happiness was in my soul and heart.
Now, I have decided to support the Young Heroes Campaign because it is all about the same spirit of self-acceptance and love. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, Indian or coloured. We are all humans, and we all deserve good things.
With Young Heroes, I can know better about sexual health issues. I can motivate, and I feel as though I can be a founder and a leader and educate wherever I go. That’s the true meaning of a Young Hero.
Come on! We may be called names, we can become bruised and even end up having scars emotionally from being insulted and disrespected, but let us come together to present a strong and unified front by accepting ourselves and fighting for what is right.
Let us show the true meaning of what it is to be a Young Hero.
Langelihle Tebogo Radingwane
Proudly a Young Heroes Ambassador