A 23-year-old Gardens artist, activist and academic is appealing to the public to help them feel at home in their body.
Siv Greyson identifies as they, because she’s non-binary.
People, who feel their gender is not male or female use many different terms to describe themselves, with non-binary being one of the most common.
Being non-binary allows them to pick the identity that feels right for them and they may use several pronouns including “they/them.”
Siv has started a crowdfunding campaign on Backbuddy, appealing for help to have her breasts removed in surgery.
She wrote an emotional letter, detailing the trials and tribulations of growing up queer in South Africa.
“Growing up queer wasn’t easy. Since a young age, I knew I wasn’t a girl, but everyone around me was convinced of otherwise and always tried to force me into dresses and heels. Because of this, I spent many years thinking there was something ‘wrong’ with me and that I would never find myself in the world. It was lonely and terrifying.”
Siv said meeting more people like them was life-changing.
“Finding fellow queer people saved my life, because of them, I didn’t think my life was pointless, worthless, or doomed. Finding people like me gave me hope. Not only that, but it gave me a language. Words like transgender and even the word queer. Fellow queer people gave me words that made my experiences feel even more real.”
However, Siv said even after finding a community and learning the value of embracing themselves, no matter how queer they are, one thing remains “wrong” – their body.
“I just don’t feel at home in it. I look in the mirror and wish I could just wave a wand and make my breasts go away. I remember reaching puberty and being frustrated at my growing chest. Even now, I sit hunched in the hopes that nobody will notice.”
Siv said even with binders or super tight sports bras and baggy tops, people still look at their chest and think she is a girl. “Do you know how awful it is to have people think of you as something that you are not?”
Siv feels surgery is the best way forward.
“I am lucky to be able to do my activist/artistic/academic work without completely crumbling into myself at all times. Having a body that feels out of sync with who I am makes it so hard to feel worthy, to feel seen, to feel as if my truth matters.
“More than anything, top surgery will give me a sense of pride, confidence, deep internal happiness, and calm. I won’t have to worry as much about what I wear or how I walk or how I talk. I can just be. Just be me and just be free. Imagine that?”
Siv has already received donations from people across the country.
Nthati Mabena stated: “From one queer person to another, I’m rooting for you, I’m happy for you, I see you, I love you!”
Alexa Mönnig, said: “I (cis fem) recently had breast reduction surgery. It was the most freeing experience of my life, so I can’t even begin to imagine what this could mean for you. Sending you love and luck.”
Visit BackABuddy if you would like to help.