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Gender DynamiX welcomes Sibusiso (Sbu) Kheswa Advocacy Coordinator PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 June 2012

It is with great pleasure that Gender DynamiX welcomes our new Advocacy Coordinator Sibusiso (S’bu) Kheswa to the team. He is a passionate advocator for the most marginalised in society with a strong history in advocacy in a number of human rights based organisations. He has keen experience in an array of gender based work within South Africa and more widely. We believe that he brings key skills to the organisation that can only assist in fulfilling our mandate and assisting in our work both locally and more widely.

GDX’s February 2012, organisational strategic planning highlighted the need to fill this key position with the right skills as a matter of organisational priority.  One of GDX’s most pressing areas of advocacy currently focuses on Gender Marker Advocacy and the implementation of Act 49 by the Department of Home Affairs. S’bu will focus much of his time here. He will also be addressing other key advocacy needs of trans people in SA including unfair dismissals in the workplace, issues within school systems including more inclusive education for trans youth and mediation when trans people report discrimination and harassment. He will also be a member of the South African Trans Health and Rights Initiative, a task team working on different strategies for medical and health access for trans people.

Says Liesl Theron, Director of Gender DynamiX: “Inasmuch as Gender DynamiX will hone its energy on the advocacy needs of South African trans people, Sibusiso will play an integral role in coordinating all of these. We are looking forward to working with the trans community on important initiatives like the present tribunal at BCCSA (Broad Cast Commission of SA) where GDX is supporting the individual advocacy of local trans people.”

GDX Chairperson Simone Heradien, "His addition to the team can but only complement the resolve of the organisation's vision towards a society where everyone is free to express their own gender. I am confident that his expertise within the field of advocacy will advance our mission as we work with government, civil society, national and international decision-makers and the media to combat prejudice against transgender people."

We wish S’bu all the best and hope that he will find GDX both challenging and enjoyable. As an organisation we look forward to working with him and building on our current advocacy programs in order to better address the needs of our constituents. 

Transitioning Africa celebrates with Argentinia PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 04 June 2012
Transitioning Africa
A partnership between Gender DynamiX, Transgender and Intersex Africa & the Support Initiative for People with atypical Sexual Development
For Immediate Release (Africa, Monday 4 June 2012) 
Transitioning Africa joins Argentina in celebrating the passage of the most progressive Gender identity law in history. The law gives self-identified trans people access to critical services without the need for medical intervention and provides for specific human rights protections. Argentina’s Senate passed the law on May 9th, with 55 votes in favour, one abstention and no votes against.

Curbing Public Transphobia in South Africa PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 May 2012


22 May 2012


A complaint has been laid with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa calling for the enforcement of its code of conduct after two radio presenters made derogatory and dehumanizing statements about a transgender person on air.


The two presenters from Highveld Stereo 94.7, a radio station in Johannesburg, South Africa, were commenting on the recent media furor regarding the disqualification of Miss Universe contestant Jenna Talackova for being transgendered. The two made offensive comments referring to Talackova as an ‘it’ and suggesting that she may have hidden her male ‘bits’ during the swim suit competition.


The complaint outlines that this type of behavior and attitude fuels the hatred experienced by many transgender people in South Africa. It also perpetuates negative stereotypes to the stations listener base, some of whom are transgender.


Gender DynamiX (GDX) along with partners Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA), Social Health and Empowerment Coalition for Trans women in Africa (SHE), Transitioning Africa (TA) and Support Initiative for people with Congenital Disorders-Uganda (SIPD-U) have strongly endorsed the complaint. 


LeighAnn van der Merwe, Coordinator for SHE: “transgender women transition into femininity with a complex range of problems and face severe levels of discrimination. Part of what makes transgender women want to take part in beauty pageants, is to affirm their new founded Gender identity and as a celebration of their femininity. What appalls me about the radio personalities' comments was the manner in which he dehumanized a transgender woman. Before beauty titles, careers, social roles, before anything else, we are human beings, as transgender women. When prominent people belittle by us by means of objectification, it becomes very concerning. Whatever happened to the basic human right to dignity afforded to all citizens by our constitution?”


When asked what prompted her to start the petition Adrienne Visser said that after hearing the show that night she was appalled by the behavior of the presenters. “We cannot allow people in these kinds of positions to create this kind of perception in the general public. To allow mainstream media to paint this kind of image is out of touch with reality. What the presenter has effectively done, is dehumanize an amazing girl who by rights has had to earn her gender, sex, and sexuality all of which are given to the rest of the world for free at birth. The thing everyone else takes for granted, she has had to fight for and prove every day of her life”


A court tribunal date has been set for the 5th of June.


If you wish to support this campaign please sign the petition at: http://www.change.org/petitions/dehumanizing-comments-made-by-radio-personality-on-air#

IDAHOT South African tripartite transgender and intersex organisational press release PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 May 2012

17 May 2012

For immediate release

Despite progressive legislation, transgender people continue to endure intolerable levels of violence. This manifests in both physical, as well as emotional forms of violence.

The Constitution Act 108 of 1996 offers constitutional protection to all its citizens. The Bill of Rights in Chapter two of the Constitution forms the cornerstone of our democracy. It makes particular reference to gender:

“The Constitution shall prohibit racial, gender and all other forms of discrimination and shall promote racial and gender equality and national unity”.

Sadly, the implementation of the Constitution as a broad legal framework in the protection of citizens as a country is a failed belief. This is no more evident in the lives of minority groups like transgender and intersex people in South Africa. The ever continuing rise in hate crimes against transgender and intersex people, especially in rural areas and townships, should be an indicator to our government about the serious and urgent nature of the problem.

Transphobia is rampant in our societies and has to be tackled at the roots. The evidence captured by civil society organisations seems insufficient for a government response.

Neo Sobuza is a young transgender woman who was attacked while commuting on a train from her home to the University campus in Boksburg, Johannesburg. She was attacked by security officers on the train, the very people who are supposed to protect us. Needless to say, she suffered physical and emotional trauma following the incident. The Pretoria News on 24 October 2011 wrote:

“Neo suffered greatly after the attack. In addition to physical pain, she had trouble sleeping, got headaches and found it difficult to concentrate. The traumatic incident led to hair loss, increased stress, depression and panic attacks. It affected her entire life”.

The security officers on the train responded in this manner about Neo’s gender expression:


Oval Callout: “These are the kinds of people who needs to be beaten up. There is no woman who shaves”.


Corrective rape is used as a “curative measure” for male-identified transgender persons. In an incident, May 2011, a transgender male individual had been raped in Pretoria. Transgender and Intersex Africa had been instrumental in providing necessary support and assistance to this individual.

In a 2011 report on witnessing the challenges for transgender people, compiled for the Legal Resource Centre, van der Merwe observes:

“Transmen (female to male) are often seen as a threat to the male ego. As it is in South Africa, the male child is raised to be territorial and competitive. Non transgendered men in society find it hard to contend with one another concerning financial, social, romantic, religious, and economic situations – thus a transgender man who is perceived as a woman – despite a gender transition- is yet another threat to an already highly challenged masculinity”.

Civil society organisations mandated with transgender issues continue to record human rights violations against this minority group. Surprisingly, this does not only manifest on an organisational level, but they are also affected by bureaucratic processes within government departments like the Department of Home Affairs who is the implementing body of the provisions of The Sex Description Alteration Act 49 of 2003. This is the legislation that facilitates the alteration of gender markers in the identity documents of transgender and intersex people. The greatest challenge is getting the department to correctly interpret and implement the provisions of the Act. Transgender and intersex people face harsh consequences as a result of the incorrect implementation of the Act and delays in issuing identity documents. Individuals in this minority group cannot claim citizenship in their country and cannot enjoy the benefits of this citizenship. High unemployment statistics is reported as a result of these delays. Similarly, constituencies of these organisations cannot access other basic rights such as government grants and other development opportunities like bursaries, housing, etc.

On this International Day Against Homo and Transphobia, the signatories of this press release, carrying the voices of their respective constituencies call on all stakeholders, including the government, to guarantee transgender and intersex people their basic human rights as enshrined by the Constitution of the Republic. We would like to remind government about its commitment as a signatory to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, CEDAW, the SADC Gender Protocol and numerous other human rights instruments articulating the full enjoyment of universal human rights of all people in South Africa. We appeal to the South African government as the central authority in the country to recognise the human rights violations of transgender and people as hate crimes and deal with them accordingly.

Civil society response

Gender DynamiX is a registered non-profit organisation advocating for the human rights of transgender, transsexual and gender non-conforming individuals. The organisation, established in 2005, adopted the mandate of working specifically on issues affecting transgender people. It was the first organisation on the African continent to address the unique issues of transgender people.

Transgender and Intersex Africa was established to address the needs of transgender and intersex individuals from black townships and rural areas.

Oval: “We as TIA felt that we need an organisation that will be serving for black trans and intersex community in particular because we realised that the language and applicable terminologies are not easily translated in our mother tongue”. Tebogo Nkoana in an article published by Behind the Mask, 14 June 2011 






S.H.E, the social, health and empowerment coalition of transgender women in Africa was established from a need to contextualise the lives of transgender women within a feminist framework.


For more information, assistance and support, the following organisations can be contacted:

Gender Dynamix


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021 6335287



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Transgender and Intersex Africa

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Vacancy: Advocacy Officer Gender DynamiX PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Gender DynamiX is a non-governmental organization (NGO) working to protect the rights of transgender, transsexual and gender nonconforming people on a national level. We provide assistance and referrals about trans health and legal information. Gender DynamiX consults with trans people and their significant others, friends, families and allies (SOFFA’s) and liaises with their employers. Education workshops and seminars are one of the organisations main activities. We are based in Cape Town, but work nationally.

We are seeking an Advocacy Coordinator, who will be primarily responsible for advocacy around national policies relevant to the development, equality and human rights of transgender people. This work will need to be backed up by research and the dissemination of strategic information. The incumbent will be responsible for related research and gender diversity advocacy in South Africa, particularly related to medical, legal and administrative functions of government and the private sphere. This position will offer the holder an opportunity to work on very exciting advocacy initiatives and campaigns in a very stimulating, multicultural and dynamic environment. About 30% of work time is travel related, mostly national travel. The position may involve some travel within Africa and other parts of the world too.

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Gender DynamiX South Africa: The first African organisation solely for the transgender communtity. Committed to provide resources, information and support to transgender people, their partners, family, employers and the public.