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January 12, 2016

Change Starts With Us: Transgender and Intersex Africa

Mama Cash grantee Transgender and Intersex Africa reflects on the ingredients for impact.

Mama Cash’s grantee partners are doing amazing work for women, girls, and trans people in their communities and around the world. In an eleven part series, we will share some of these inspiring stories of change. This is the story of Transgender and Intersex Africa.

Founded in 2010, Transgender and Intersex Africa (TIA) seeks to break the silence and stop the ignorance surrounding the existence of black transgender and intersex communities in South Africa. The group aims to reduce intolerance and discrimination against transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex individuals in black communities, and to promote acknowledgment of indigenous African knowledge of transgender and intersex identity.

The Challenge

Due to pervasive gender and sexual discrimination in South Africa, trans* and intersex people face grave challenges. They may be kicked out of their family homes, unable to finish their education, denied access to employment and health care, or endure mistreatment by health care providers. Prior to 2010, trans* organising in South Africa lacked the voices, presence, and leadership of black trans* and intersex people from ‘disadvantaged’ areas. There was just one organisation in all of Africa voicing the interests of trans* people and advocating for their rights. The needs of poor, black trans* people in South Africa’s townships and rural areas were not being addressed: they had no support structures, and lacked knowledge and information about their rights. To address these challenges, a group of young black trans* people in Pretoria founded Transgender and Intersex Africa.

To continue the story, please read the PDF