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Trans Health and Rights Workshop PDF Print E-mail

by Charl Marais

Gender DynamiX recently held a four-day Trans Health and Rights workshop at its offices at the Saartjie Baartman Centre in Athlone, Cape Town. Nine participants from Pietermaritzburg, Durban, King Williams Town and Kimberley attended. Most of the participants work in rural areas where there is little knowledge of transgender issues, and where trans people are more likely to call themselves gay or lesbian because of their lack of awareness of transgender.

The workshop dealt with all aspects necessary to enable participants to assist their trans clients/constituents with questions on transgender issues. Facilitators were He-Jin Kim, Whitney Booysen and Liesl Theron, all from Gender DynamiX, as well as guest facilitators Sanja Bornman from the Women’s Legal Centre, covering the legal module , Arnaud de Villiers presented the medical module and Carol Musikanth guided the participants regarding the information they need to assist parents of transgender children.

Topics included dealt with Act 49 of 2003: Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status. Medical and  surgical transition was discussed, also the options available in South Africa. Scenario exercises where participants had to 'solve possible queries' and think through best advice or guidance to give when presented with trans constituents in their areas proved to be challenging, yet very helpful.

The participants rated the workshop very highly, all of them stating that they would apply the lessons learnt in their day-to-day outreach work. Cheo Mbanjwa, a volunteer at the Gay & Lesbian Network in Pietermaritzburg vowed to go back to her community and "preach" that they must respect trans people and respect their decisions about going on hormone treatment or having surgery.

A number of the participants felt the information on Act 49 was helpful and important because there were many transgender people requesting information on changing ID documents and the procedures to follow. Information on medical and legal aspects was also well-received and highly rated.

"As a mother, I found Carol's (facilitator) story from a mother's point of view very touching. I can now help mothers of transgender children by giving them the information that I received. I am also very grateful for the information about the medical side and transition because I can now tell our transgender constituents how and where to get help," Dina Lubbe of Legbo in Kimberley said.

All the participants said that through the workshop they also learnt a lot about themselves and could understand themselves better.

Dina said that the workshop was a blessing because she had learnt so much and said she would use the information to educate the people back home, especially the heterosexual people who criticise and judge transgender people.

Ayanda Ndondo, Public Educator at Masimanyane in King Williams Town, admitted that she was not so clued up on transgender issues. "I feel I can now go back and help other transgender people and explain to them what transgender is, and I can share the information with transpeople and their families, especially their parents," she said.

Mabuti Nkangeli of Triangle Project in Cape Town said they often get transgender people with many questions. "I can now go back with more information that I can pass on. I feel I can now answer most questions dealing with transgender issues."

 "This could happen to anyone and no-one chooses to be transgender. People need to accept us because we are here and we are not going anywhere. We'll be here forever," Cheo said.

"This Trans Health and Rights workshop for service providing NGO’s was a pilot workshop and GDX will roll out more of these workshops in the near future," said Liesl Theron from Gender DynamiX


Community Consultation Workshop KZN PDF Print E-mail
Community Consultation Workshop KZN

Rania Jordan, the HIV/AIDS Programme Officer at Gender DynamiX, recently facilitated a community consultation workshop in Pietermaritzburg. The workshop took place at the Nolumbo community centre; it was done in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Network which services the Pietermaritzburg and Durban areas. This workshop forms part of a broader AFSA (AIDS Foundation of South Africa) funded project, that focuses on HIV prevention and education, creating awareness of sexual and reproductive health rights across the transgender community in South Africa, especially in the rural and isolated areas.
The community consultation workshop is our first of two visits to the area. At this workshop we concentrated on
Empowering The Eastern Cape’s Trans People PDF Print E-mail
Empowering The Eastern Cape’s Trans People
By Leigh-Ann van der Merwe
Early morning of 21 April I, Leigh Ann van der Merwe and Charlie Takati departed from the Cape Town International Airport to East London. The flight had been delayed so we sat down to some coffee to discuss our strategy for this outreach effort. Most of the candidates invited to this workshop were mobilised by our ally, the contact person for this workshop and also president of the Executive for the Eastern Cape Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organization in East London, Zamanguni Mzimela.

A great deal of work had gone into the planning of this workshop. A large part of the groundwork was done by me in consultation with Charlie Takati and former Outreach Officer at Gender DynamiX, Tebogo Nkoana. Since it was the Easter period, Charlie and I, being originally from the Eastern Cape, the suggestion was that
What are you? A report by Transgender Sex Workers Cape Town SA PDF Print E-mail

What are you?
 A report by Transgender Sex Workers Cape Town SA

Transgender Sex Workers Cape Town, SWEAT and Gender DynamiX
Authors: Robert Hamblin and Estian Smit

Transgender Sex Workers Cape Town is a support group for transgender women sex workers. The group was established in 2011 and currently consists of a small group of very committed transgender (male to female) women.  Most of them are homeless.

The group was initiated by SWEAT in consultation with Gender DynamiX. The distinction of transgender women from male sex workers is important with regards to the drive to address autonomy and self determination of transgender women’s issues. Current HIV programming mistakenly invisibilises and usurps transgender women’s identities within the category of MSM (men who have sex with men)
SWEAT (Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce) is an organisation that advocates for the decriminalisation of adult sex work in South Africa, addresses health and human rights abuses with sex workers and supports their self-representation in issues affecting them.

Gender DynamiX is a human rights organisation promoting freedom of expression of Gender identity and advocating for the rights of transgender, transsexual and gender non-conforming people.

Abstract: This report acknowledges that transgender women sex workers face similar challenges as female bodied and male sex workers concerning criminalisation, stigma and access to HIV-related services, but wishes to highlight the compounded stigmatisation and added challenges that transgender women experience. These challenges are deeply rooted in the constructs of a society dependant on stereotypical gender identities. These identities are rigidly attached to binary biological sex categories. Laws and other systems are organised around these categories and exclude gender variant people to the point of non-citizenship. Persons who do not conform to these constructs are punished with violence and exclusion. (quote Annabel). Transgender sex workers find themselves bearing the brunt of  society’s violence and prejudice against those who transcend its decrees concerning sex and gender. This report draws on three focus group discussions with ten transgender sex workers from Cape Town, South Africa.
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