All posts for the month September, 2014

Dialogue on religion, culture and gender diversity, 26 September 2014

Published September 25, 2014 by transfeminists

Dear Friends
Dialogue on Culture, Religion and Gender Diversity

Please click on this link to access the invitation in PDF

Invitation to the Dialogue

Social, Health and Empowerment is a registered non-profit organization (106-631-NPO) working to advance the rights of transgender women on the African continent. It is a feminist collective working to realize the human rights of transgender women. It does so through its work on feminist ideas and analysis. The collective also undertakes its work through a Pan Africanist, feminist, human rights framing.
S.H.E is based in East London, Eastern Cape based province of South Africa, well known for its strong traditional leadership, strong cultural and traditional values. Further to this, colonialism has left Africa with a legacy of strong fundamentalist, essentialist and oppressive attitudes of social exclusion, underlying a gender binary based on the assumption that there is often only one way of being: man or woman.

This said, the collective organizes in a strong patriarchal and heteronormative context. A context often influenced by patriarchal, normative values and norms. This is often to the disadvantage of women, children and minority groups. Culture is often used as an argument against the rights of minority groups of women, in particular transgender, lesbian and bisexual women. Throughout history, culture is often presented as an immutable, static concept, yet culture is man-made, and man can unmake it! Gender based violence often stems of social distinctions of gender, race and class. Johnnetta B. Cole notes in Anthropology of the Nineties: “Social distinctions are man-made and learned; what man makes and learns he can unmake and unlearn”.

Gender diversity remains a contentious issue for religious and traditional leaders.
It is in this context that S.H.E is hosting a dialogue with religious & cultural leaders; human rights/gender rights institutions, and gender diverse persons. The objectives of such a dialogue would be:
• Creating a space of dialogue on gender diversity and how this issue intersect with cultural and religious considerations;
• Sensitising religious and traditional leaders on issues affecting transgender, lesbian and bisexual women;
• Creating visibility of gender based violence based on religious and/or traditional fundamentalisms.
We welcome participants from the religious/traditional sector, the men’s sector, the women’s sector, CBO’s/ human rights & gender rights institutes, and members of the transgender, lesbian and bisexual women community.

Date: Friday, 26 September 2014
Time: 10 AM to 14:00 PM
Venue: St. Saviours Church (behind Ultra Liquor in Oxford Road)

Please RSVP to Leigh Ann van der Merwe on or Phiwe Ngcengi on or Felicity de Kock on Alternatively, call +27(0)43 7220750