My transgender journey: ‘I saw myself as a victim, but now, I see myself as a survivor’

Aurora Kratoa Moses from Stellenbosch. Photo: Supplied

Aurora Kratoa Moses from Stellenbosch. Photo: Supplied

Published Jun 16, 2024


While many people struggle to find themselves, this young woman from the Western Cape has found her footing and is ready to take on the world.

Aurora Kratoa Moses, 23, from Stellenbosch is a transgender woman making waves and paving the way for others.

Growing up was not always easy for Moses as she always felt uncomfortable in her own skin. She was brought up by her male birth name but told IOL she always felt something wasn’t right.

“I tried. The feeling just didn’t feel right. I always had a sense of femininity and would wear my mother’s clothes secretly. It was through therapy and multiple psychologists that I discovered I am transgender.

Aurora Kratoa Moses from Stellenbosch. Photo: Supplied

“There was lots of oppression. I oppressed myself and being teased was the worst. I tried to fit in,” Moses explains.

She battled with the teasing and the horrible way children can be at school on her own, however, she discovered herself during her high school years.

“I was the head student and one Friday, all the boys were told to cut their hair by the next week. That entire weekend I did research about everything regarding my rights and more.

“At school there was a whole fight (I refused to cut my hair) and I even got the WCED [Western Cape Education Department] involved,” Moses said.

Aurora Kratoa Moses from Stellenbosch has officially had her name and gender changed. Photo: Supplied

Coming out to her mother, Moses said was not as daunting as she thought it would be, as her mother fully accepted her.

This journey was also riddled with some extreme trauma, when she was quite young, Moses was sexually assaulted by a family friend. She told IOL her trauma definitely added to her strength, and that her healing process made her even stronger.

In 2021, Moses was again sexually assaulted, but this time she could file charges and the matter went to court, however, the docket was closed.

“This justice system … the docket is closed and police are now looking for witnesses. At the time of the incident, no one went to obtain the CCTV footage. I am no longer in contact with the witnesses and I feel the justice system has failed me multiple times. Years ago, when I spoke up about the sexual assault during my younger years I was told there were no grounds for a case.

“I saw myself as a victim, but now, I see myself as a survivor,” she said.

Moses, who is now a student completing her BA in psychology and criminology, is living her true self.

Recently, she had her gender and name legally changed at Home Affairs. It was not a quick process but she is no longer known by her birth name and prefers it that way.

Moses had to do each change (name and gender) separately.

“Going to Home Affairs in Stellenbosch to change my gender brought a lot of dysphoria because of the treatment of staff. I asked if I can change my name and gender and they said ‘no, only one’. I applied for the gender change. In that process, they [staff] kept calling me ‘he’.

“I did not like this,” Moses said.

Moses’ pronouns are she/her/they/them.

She told IOL the gender change actually went quickly and took about two months. Moses later went for her name change in January, and by May she had received her new ID.

“I also often followed up with the department and I even complained about the staff at that particular branch,” she said.

Moses has shared her journey on her social media throughout.

“Once I got my new ID, I felt like everything was aligned. This is still a process - medically. But now, my official documents will be in my name. It was a process of discovery to know who I am and it took many years, but I am here now,” she said proudly.

Moses, who is also a human rights activist, would like anyone going through a similar process to know: “The journey is not going to be easy. Stick through it. Be a voice for yourself and connect with like-minded people.”

She is currently in the process of establishing a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to assist transgender youth with assistance to healthcare, legal processes and all forms of support.

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