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Projects within Gender DynamiX PDF Print E-mail
Gender DynamiX has a number of ongoing projects aimed at making the lives of transgender individuals easier while also educating the general public about transgender issues and challenges.
Letters from the front – accounts of the work of transgender activists PDF Print E-mail

Dear Family

Hope things are well for you in your lives at the moment and that you are safe from prejudice and hate and marginalisation. I am still finding my way to the battlefield everyday where I see how transgender people have to bear other people’s gender illness. But I can tell you they are putting up a brave fight and daily I see resilience that gives me insight alongside some of the despair I feel at times. Many trans people are downright inspiring!

Working for the rights of trans people has opened so many tightly shut doors in my head. As a transgender person I have shifted from dealing with my own internalised transphobia (yes I believed I was wrong to change my gender even while I was doing it) to understanding the important lesson the whole of society could learn from us. One of these openings in my thinking has come from working with the transgender women support group at SWEAT. SWEAT is an organisation who works for the decriminalisation of sex work. (Sex work Education and Advocacy Taskforce)


Call for papers:Trans Health and Advocacy Conference PDF Print E-mail

Trans Health and Advocacy Conference

We are excited to announce this conference call for the first Trans Health and Advocacy Conference 26 - 28 November 2011, in Cape Town, South Africa. This conference has an explicit research focus which is why we are providing opportunities for early registration and abstract submission.  We welcome both qualitative and quantitative research. For Health workers, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points will be provided by our partners within the University of Cape Town. The conference planning committee identified two clear focus areas:
1.    To educate Health Care Professionals on service provision to TG people; and
2.    To explore Indigenous Knowledge and communication in relation to TG persons

This will be further broken down into four tracks or the submission of abstracts which will be presented on the first day of the conference. Depending on the number of abstract submissions, presentations may be presented orally or by poster. The four tracks include:
1.    Indigenous knowledge
2.    Access to health
3.    Sexual and Reproductive health issues
4.    HIV

The Website will be updated regularly with details regarding the Venue and other related information.
Transgender Health will be placed under scrutiny when medical service providers 

A New Vision and Mission for Gender DynamiX PDF Print E-mail

Gender DynamiX (GDX), a human rights organisation promoting freedom of expression of Gender identity, focussing on transgender and transsexual issues, is working towards creating a society where everyone is free to choose and express their own gender. But Gender DynamiX has grown beyond the scope of its original Vision and Mission and the time has come to revisit its objectives, see where GDX is headed in relation to where it was, and build on past successes in order to move forward in a way that will benefit all who make use of its services.

To this end a special brainstorming session was held in which the Management Committee and staff of GDX participated. During the initial part of the session, the group focussed on past projects, what they entailed, what the benefits were, and how much it cost in terms of resources and funds.

CT Pride 2011 - Transgender – it’s not a gay or a straight thing... PDF Print E-mail

Last year Gender DynamiX put up the first ever transgender float in the history of any African pride. It was a happy occasion with balloons, smiles and celebration. 

This year at the Cape Town Pride march we decided to have a serious advocacy message.

Pride 2011“Transgender – it’s not a gay or a straight thing.....” was the main theme. The advocacy team at GDX had rather austere banners and posters printed. Black background with white lettering was the order of the day. This is a very serious issue that is part of the work that GDX does. It is very important for all people to understand that Gender identity is a separate issue when it comes to transgender people. Gay people need to understand that transgenders are not just some sub division of being gay. Heterosexual people need to understand that people do not change their gender to pursue hetero(normativity). Transgender people have the same range of sexual orientations that non-transgender people have. Some transgender people partner with the same gender as their selves, others partner with the opposite gender of them-selves.


Presentation To American Students At Stellenbosch University PDF Print E-mail
Gender DynamiX (GDX) was recently invited to give a presentation to almost twenty American students at the University of Stellenbosch. Robert Hamblin, Advocacy Manager and Deputy Director, as well as others, were available to deliver information.

Hamblin explained that GDX is a Human Rights organisation advocating for the rights of transsexual, transgender, intersex, gender variant and gender non-conforming people.  Robert said that transgender people have been finding their identities in the media, and although the information on the internet is setting people free, this information has always been about people from overseas. There is very little information pertinent to South Africa by South Africans about South Africans. As well, during the last year, GDX moved into Africa when it became apparent how dire the need is for consciousness and advocacy around the issue of transgender in other countries on the continent.
Call for internship for a Transgender person at Gender DynamiX PDF Print E-mail
Gender DynamiX is pleased to announce that it can offer a 3-month internship to a transgender person in South Africa. We are encouraging transgender individuals with interest and/or experience and commitment to activism and the transgender communities in South Africa, to apply. The three months will see involvement in the outreach work of Gender DynamiX, and the intern will be provided with the chance to learn practical skills in terms of organising outreach, as well as working in an NGO.

Transport to Cape Town will be provided for, as well as a basic living stipend for the duration of the internship. This opportunity does NOT constitute employment, and does not entitle anyone to any right to employment afterwards.

-    Has to be a transgender individual
-    Good English and at least one African language
-    Willingness to relocate to Cape Town for the duration of the internship
-    Immediate availability, as dates are not flexible
-    Interest and/or experience in activism
-    Has to be a South-African National

By 7 February, please submit a cv, and a motivation to Liesl Theron ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or Robert Hamblin ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ). Alternatively, application may be sent by regular mail to P.O. Box 347, Athlone, CT 7760.

Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for a phone interview.  
Deadline for submissions: 7 February 2011

Telephone: 021 633-5287
HIV & Transgender Identity – Towards Inclusion and Autonomy PDF Print E-mail

HIV & Transgender Identity  – Towards Inclusion and Autonomy
A position paper developed by 19 Transgender activists from an African Exchange Program.

An expression of concern about conceptualising transgender people by default of their birth sex, in the context of MSM and WSW.


1.    Introduction
2.    Transgender bodies
3.    Concerning health services
4.    Concerning research and statistics and identity
5.    Concerning rights
6.    Recommendations and way forward
7.    Synergy
8.    Authors and endorsements

1.    Introduction:

The recent trend of involving transgender groups in discussion platforms for WSW (women having sex with women) and MSM (men having sex with men) is welcomed. There is concern, however, that some specific and distinct needs of transgender people are not sufficiently addressed at these forums. Transgender people are located in all social/sexual demographic groups and currently invisible within all those groups due to various factors.

– Transgender people have a Gender identity that is different to their sex assigned at birth by default of genitals.
Transwoman / MTF – A transwoman, or male-to-female, starts her life with a male body, but  her gender identity is female. Always use female pronouns in reference.
Trans man / FTM – A transman, or female-to-male, starts his life with a female body, but his gender identity is male. Always use male pronouns in reference.
Cisgender/Cismen/Ciswomen – People whose gender identity matches their sex at birth. The Latin prefix cis stands for ‘on the same side’, while the prefix trans stands for ‘on the opposite side’. This has a more positive connotation than ‘normal’ or ‘non-transgender’.
transsexual – a transgender person in the process of seeking or undergoing some form of medical treatment to bring their body and gender identity into closer alignment. Not all transgender people undergo reassignment surgery.

2.    Transgender bodies:
There is an assumption that interventions dealing with issues for MSM automatically address the needs of transwomen*, and that interventions dealing with issues for WSW automatically address the needs of transmen*.
This is based on the false premise that transmen and transwomen necessarily have the same sexual practices and/or sexual preference as ciswomen* and cismen*/non-transgender men and women respectively.
The reality is that transgender individuals have different physical sexual characteristics and may be somewhere on a continuum of transitioning their bodies.

3.    Concerning health services:
Transgender individuals have different or additional needs with regards to promoting health. Information on and discussion about sexual and reproductive health rarely address the specific needs of transgender people.  Moreover, the particular difficulties that transgender people face in accessing health services are also ignored.
Transgender people have very specific needs for example (among others) cross gendered hormone treatment and possible interaction with ARV’s and other medicine are not known. Prostate cancer in post operative transwomen and cervical cancer with transmen are often ignored because of pre conceived notions of transgender bodies.

4.       Concerning research and statistics and identity:

The transgender community is largely invisible, for reasons that include stigmatisation and denial: society refuses to recognise that transgender people exist or regards them as abnormal. Transgender health issues are under researched and unrepresented in health planning and excluded from or inaccurately reflected in statistics.
Transgender individuals, notably transwomen, have been shown by numerous studies to be particularly vulnerable to HIV. Such vulnerability is fuelled by their marginalised position in society, poverty and incumbent related higher rates of sex work. Unresolved sexual identity often results in high risk sexual experimentation. Female gender roles are often associated with abuse by a partner.  Transwomen, due to stigma are highly vulnerable to sexual assault and punitive rape. Transmen on the African continent are reported to be at a very high risk of “corrective rape”  where motivation for rape is based on  ”correcting” perceived deviance as well as other forms of violence.
Assimilating  transmen with WSW and transwomen with MSM when informing the planning of health service provision and research, runs the risk of making transgender people even less visible and aggravating their vulnerability.
The marginalised position of transgender individuals can have serious effects on the quality of life of transgender people. Overall, high HIV infection rates, inaccessibility of health services, high incidence of sexual violence and murder, and vulnerability to societal ills, such as substance abuse, can potentially reduce the life expectancy of transgender people in Africa.

5.    Concerning rights:

Sidelining transgender people also indirectly undermines their fundamental rights as outlined in the Alma-ata declaration, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the African Charter, the UN Charter of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which most African nations are signatories, and as highlighted in the Yogyakarta Principles. South Africa’s Bill of Rights, which enshrines equality, dignity and, access to health care among other rights, reflects the country’s commitment to the above instruments.

6.    Recommendations and way forward:

•    Statistic on the HIV/STIs prevalence and incidence rates in the transgender community should be desegregated from that of MSM and WSW for sound advocacy and health intervention strategies for transgender people.

•    Funding mechanisms should cater for transgender people as a self determining high risk group and not a constituent of MSM and WSW clusters.

•    It is urgent and must be imminent that the sexual practices and vulnerabilities of Transgender people must be examined and programmes be developed for them as a self-determining group.

•    Transgender identity is about gender preference, not about sexual preference. It may not be disputed that including transgender people in any kind of research by default of their birth sex is an act of invisibilisation.

•    For sound clinical and social reasons, gender identity must not be ignored when examining sexual practices and informing health programmes, and acknowledging different sexual orientations.

•    Inclusion in MSM and WSW forums should not limit the right of self-determination of transgender people.

•    Because transmen who have not undergone medical or surgical treatment are often located in women's groups, they should be allowed to make the choice to participate in programmes, research and forums -  but not by default of their  birth sex. Their gender identity and unique experiences have be contextualised and not be documented by default of their birth sex.

•    Because transwomen who have not undergone medical or surgical treatment are often located in men's groups, they should be allowed to make the choice to participate in programmes, research and forums -  but not by default of their  birth sex. Their gender identity and unique experiences have be contextualised and not be documented by default of their birth sex.

•    Lesbian and bisexual transwomen have to be accommodated in WSW forums, programmes and research no matter where they find themselves on the continuum of their transition.

•    Gay and bisexual transmen have to be accommodated in MSM forums, programmes and research no matter where they find themselves on the continuum of their transition.

•    Transgender individuals and organisations must be invited not as tokens, but actively be included in examining issues affecting them, at all levels of decision making.

•    Gender variance as it pertains to sexual health must be a standing item on the agenda of discussion platforms, and accommodated as a specific discussion point.

•    Transgender individuals and organisations must be included in planning of content and representation at these forums, to ensure that they are not sidelined.

•    Organisations and stakeholders in HIV/Aids research must be educated on matters pertaining to transgender people

7.    Synergy:
Transgender people comprise a small minority in society and have hardly any avenues open to them to influence health issues that affect them profoundly such as HIV. MSM and WSW forums operate in a context of under-resourced, under-funded public health programmes, often staffed by poorly informed and prejudiced health workers. They endeavour to inform sexual health and HIV programmes in countries where there may be a legacy of human rights abuses and HIV denialism, and where even government leaders make outspoken homophobic statements.  This is compounded by the stigma associated with ‘alternative’ identities and work in a continent where disclosure may in some countries almost certainly be met with violence and even death. Synergy with, and active partnership between, the WSW and MSM community and the transgender community, which endures extreme discrimination, can benefit all but only if there is respect for identity and autonomy.

9.    Authors and endorsements
This paper was conceptualised and drafted by:
1.         Anna Haufiku, Outright Namibia
2.         Dr. Arnaud de Villiers Independent Transgender consultant.
3.         Betesta, Activist from Botswana
4.         Chan Mubanga, Friends of Rainka, Zambia
5.         Christina Mavuma, Human Rights Activist
6.         Gerald, Community Activist, Outright Namibia
7.         He-Jin Kim, Independent Consultant & Activist
8.         Ilakut Mac, Trans Activist, Uganda
9.         Julius Kaggwa, Director, SIPD, Uganda
10.       Leigh Ann van der Merwe, Human Rights, HIV & Gender Activist, South Africa
11.       Liesl Theron, Director, Gender DynamiX, South Africa
12.       Pepe Julian Onziema, Sexual Minorities Uganda
13.       Robert Hamblin, Advocacy Manager, Gender DynamiX, South Africa
14.       Salongo Nikki Mawanda, Human Rights Defender, Director TITS Uganda
15.       Skipper Mogapi, Director of Rainbow Identity, Botswana
16.       Tatenda Ngwaru, Admin Officer, Gender DynamiX, South Africa
17.       Tebogo Nkoana, Outreach Officer, Gender DynamiX, South Africa
18.       Terry, Trans Bantu, Zambia
19.       Themba Nkosi, Activist, Board Member, Gender DynamiX, South Africa

Individual signatories:

1. Simone Heradien – Board Member, Gender DynamiX, South Africa & Gender Activist
2. Lex Kirsten – Founding member of Gender DynamiX
3. Audrey Mbugua - Project officer, Transgender Education and Advocacy, Kenya

Organisational Signatories:

1.         Gender DynamiX, South Africa
2.         Support Initiative for People with atypical sex Development (SIPD), Uganda
3.         Transgender, Intersex and Transsexual, Uganda
4.         Rainbow Identity Association, Botswana
5.         Trans Bantu, Zambia

Private Parts and Rights - a speech at a conference. PDF Print E-mail

".... to stop being immature - to stop of thinking of people’s private parts in juxtaposition to their rights."

On 15 and 16 November 2010 the The Heinrich Böll Foundation held an international conference in Cape Town. The theme was: Struggle for equality: sexual orientation, Gender identity and human rights in Africa

On the second day Robert Hamblin – Advocacy Manager from Gender DynamiX was asked to present on a panel with the following subject: Social integration of LGBTI people in South Africa and Namibia: one step forward two steps back?

These were his beefs:

Hi Ladies and Gentlemen and people who identify themselves as something other and are too scared to claim it.

I am not an academic or any kind of intellectual  with a degree neither amd I an academic critic. I’m the guy who used to sit in the suburbs and go to white gay pride when I was still a woman and by default a lesbian. Now I am a transgender man and almost by default I’m the advocacy guy at the only officially  registered Transgender organisation on the continent of Africa and I am really struggling with the notion of all the necessary criticism and complaining that goes with this job.

So I guess I have to tell you my beefs and I call it that, because that’s the language at my disposal.
South Africa is one of the few countries in the world that has a very progressive law that allows Transgender and transsexual people to change the gender on their identity documents without having to mutilate their bodies and without having to give up their reproductive rights.

 The first time I heard this, I was a bit shocked like any other person might be who is new to the field. I mean, so what are you going to do with a person with a penis who is showing you an identity document that says woman? In that moment I just forced myself to stop being immature - to stop of thinking of people’s private parts in juxtaposition to their rights.

 I decided to stop arguing for the patriarch (new word for me) and to see what is so right about this law!
I could not quite stop hearing people’s arguments against my life but I decided to answer them to myself as I struggled through my own conditioning and my new confrontation of wanting to be the guy that I knew I was. One of the first fears people project onto transgender people when they reveal their incongruous identities is to say “but what if you want to turn back?!”- shock horror. I guess it is hard to divorce genitals from gender for all of us and well.. Let’s face it, transpeople make us squirm because of our rich imaginations just going there. Oh dear one pair of perfect genitals are going to get the chop!

International Depathologisation Campaign PDF Print E-mail
Stop Trans pathlogisation - This is why!

See our youtube video where African transgender and intersex activists unpack why it is so important to stop the pathologisation of transgender and intersex people.

23 October is International Stop Trans pathologisation day.

For more information and the manifesto go to


Released by Gender DynamiX and SIPD Exchange program.


Emaill: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
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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.