Deonay Balie, the actress who plays the first transgender character on 7de Laan, is not bothered by the homophobic comments.
Cape Town - After broadcasting its first gay kiss on local TV, 7de Laan shocked soapie viewers once again on Tuesday night.

Social media was abuzz when a transgender character appeared in the SABC 2 show and stunned everyone with her flamboyant personality.

But Genevieve du Pre, played by actress Deonay Balie, is not bothered by the homophobic comments.

“I have seen horrible comments on social media, but that is all aimed at the character I’m playing so I’m not offended,” she says.

The 27-year-old from the Northern Cape works as a Project Manager at Ferdinand Brecher Primary School and says she has the full support of her school staff and pupils.

“They are proud of me and support everything I do,” she says.

“I used to teach Grade 7 at this school, but now I’m handling all the projects and dealing with special cases at school.”

The feisty Genevieve makes her debut when she takes part in a competition for well-rounded women on 7de Laan. 

She is paired with Aggie (Mimi Mahlasela) as a tag team but seems to come across as intimidating to Aggie, who tries to befriend her.

Deonay says Genevieve is not as intimidating as she comes across.

“Genevieve is actually intimidated by Aggie because Aggie is born a woman and she isn’t,” she says.

But what got tongues wagging even more was the scene in which Genevieve picks up her order at Oppie Koffie and an old school friend, Johan, recognises her as Gerard (Genevieve’s name when she was male).

Johan gives Genevieve a mouthful about how her being in women’s clothes is disappointing or rather disgusting.

Johan is played by Cape Town born and bred Ashley Manuel, 37.

Ashley, originally from Kraaifontein, now resides in Johannesburg and says he is not happy with the negative reaction to Genevieve.

“As a preacher’s kid I was raised to accept everyone as they are, and so the character I played was rude and not the person I am, but and Deonay and I had had a serious chat before this scene was recorded."

“We agreed to give our all for this scene and not attach personal feelings.”

Ashley was an extra on 7de Laan and Generations for three years but got his break when he appeared in a role in Generations in January, and now had his second taste of acting on TV in 7de Laan.

Neither Deonay nor Ashley have professional acting training.