Dear bloggers, friends, allies, colleagues, donors, constituents, friends and family
It is with a certain degree of sadness that we kissed 2011 goodbye and welcomed 2012. Last year had so many wonderful memories and we witnessed the best thing of all: we formalised the administration of S.H.E, the social, health and empowerment coalition for transgender women in Africa! Yes, it was the birth of this great coalition and we do a lot for an organisation without funding.
A lot of the work we do comes from being passionate about these issues. So we stand at the beginning of this year looking to develop strategic plans and put into action plans on how we will approach this year. It is all very exciting!!!!
One of the great memories of 2011 for me personally was attending the WGNRR conference at Mosaic in Cape Town, followed by the Gender Dynamix health and advocacy conference at the Upper East Side Hotel in Woodstock, Cape Town. Who could forget the presentation on transgender feminism and the interest it sparked in the transgender community?
And who can forget the experience of a lifetime attending a conference aimed at advancing transgender health hosted by OSI, the Austrian American Foundation as well as The Centre for Excellence from the University of San Francisco, California. I was so honoured to have met JoAnne Keatley, Maddy Deutsch, Nancy Warren, Jae Sevellius and many other individuals who make the world a better place for transgender people.
Let’s not forget when I met a group of Latin American transgender women. I will never forget Janah, Laylah and Mariciello who inspired me to become a stronger feminist and a glamorous woman.
During November I attended the UNDP transgender consultation in Geneva Switzerland and was whisked to my destination flying business class. Oh what an Amazing experience. Thank you so much to the Global Fund for that. Activists do hard work and we need to be pampered from time to time.
October was the birth of the coalition but really the idea was sparked when attending the transgender and intersex exchange program during May in Uganda. That week was one of the darkest times in my life and I realised how much we need to apply a feminist framework to the problems experienced by transgender women in Africa. I have said it before and I will say it again. Transgender women never has and never will have any male privilege, so I am not even going to say that they lay down their male privilege when they transition. Transgender men, on the other hand, transition right into male privilege and patriarchy that have dominated Africa for so many years! This is why we see more transgender men steering the African transgender movement and it is for this reason that I found S.H.E.
So about 2012? We will have to wait and see! As an organisation, we are currently in the process of formulating our strategic plan for the year. One of the things we can anticipate for the year is Girl Talk, an initiative aimed at more dialogue amongst and for transgender women on this continent, discussing vital issues pertaining to trans women in African. As always, the coalition is always looking to make partnerships with organisations with a transgender and/or feminist mandate.
Please be in touch with us through our organisational email at:
Until next time.