5 Transwomen living their truth
Choma, with the serious rise in violence towards the LGBTQIA community over the past few years, representation for transgender women has never been as important as it is today. Unfortunately, our society still has a long way to go in terms of the protection of human rights for transgender women. Facing stigma and violence for simply living as the gender they identify with means their right to a safe, dignified life isn’t respected, sometimes by government or even their own families.
These are five women I find inspiring because despite the stigma they have experienced in their lives, they choose to live openly, proudly and unapologetically as themselves.
Ricki, who grew up between Botswana and the North West Province in South Africa, fought for 7 years to be legally recognised as a woman. She is the Executive Director of Gender DynamiX, a transgender and gender non-conforming rights organisation based in Cape Town.
Quote: “It is therefore important for awareness to be created about trans people in order to place a sense of urgency in creating an environment that enables children to be able to speak on their own behalf. “
Elle Rose van der Burg
Elle has been in the modelling industry since she was just 15 years old and she is very successful in her modelling career. Despite the success she’s had, she does want to focus on being a stronger activist for the trans community.
Quote: “There’s more than enough room for more trans faces in fashion. I’m just one of them.”
You might remember her because she was a recent #WCW on my page. Sandi is a Media Studies & Law graduate from the University of Cape Town, and has been advocating for the rights of transgender students in the Western Cape.
Quote: “Every time a trans body is able to occupy its own space in its own terms unapologetically is something I think is a victory for us all.”
Yaya is often spotted on the red carpet at A-list events, but she’s not just a socialite. She is on the board of the Gender DynamiX Non-Government organisation for advancing the human rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people. But lately, she’s been focussing on her career in events planning, and is one on the founding members of the Mzansi Pride parade.
Quote: “We should never wait for the world to be ready for us. We must create the opportunity to be ourselves because at the end of the day it is about happiness.”
Phumelele is a blogger who was a representative of the Rhodes University SRC transformation. Her blog explores topics around Xhosa culture, gender, race and sexuality, which all are a part of her identity and experience as a trans woman.
Quote: “I was never told from a young age I have rights, more importantly, the right to safety. I have never felt safe. I do not know what that feels like.”
Choma, when we uplift, represent and recognise trans women in our daily lives, we are fighting the stigma against the trans community as well as fighting for transgender women (and men) to be treated equally and have the chance to live a dignified, safe life. Do you know of any other transwomen who inspire you to live your truth? Let me know in the comments!
Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)
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