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14 May 2015

Published May 14, 2015 by transfeminists

14 May 2015
S.H.E Feminist Internship, 2nd quarter 2015
Dear colleagues, friends, family, supporters,
Social, Health and Empowerment Feminist Collective of Transgender Women of Africa is a registered Non Profit and Public Benefit Organisation, based in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The collective focusses its resources on the development of transgender women, including development opportunities. Our work is grounded in feminist ideas and guided by feminist principles.
The evaluation of our work reveals a glaring need for capacity building for transgender women based in African states outside of South Africa. For this reason, we are calling for applications for our exciting internship program for 2015. The intern will be based at our office in East London, South Africa. Social, Health and Empowerment will be responsible for travelling and accommodation for the intern. The internship will last three months. The intern will be paid a monthly stipend of R 3000-00.
Candidates must fulfil the following criteria:
 Have a fair command of the English language;
 Be able to travel outside of your country of residence (valid passport);
 The intern must demonstrate commitment to working or continuing working to strengthen work at the country level;
 Able to travel and start work in 1st June 2015;
 Be based in an African country outside South Africa.
Candidates will possess the following qualities:
 Being able to work in a very dynamic group;
 Be able to work under pressure;
 Be able to work flexible hours (sometimes after official work hours and over weekends);
 Be able to relate to different groups of people and work in a multi-racial and multi-cultural environment;
 Good reading, writing and analysis.
The intern will deliver the following deliverables:
 A plan to demonstrate how the intern will start or continue to strengthen work with other trans women on return to their country.
 The intern will be expected to complete a gender, sexuality and/or feminist text during their time at S.H.E.
 Representation of S.H.E at conferences and other forums as and when needed.

Interested candidates should send a letter of motivation and copy of latest CV to:
Babalwa Kokwe, S.H.E Human Resources Officer
Phiwe Masiko, S.H.E Programs Manager
or fax to 0862603971
Applications must reach us no later than 31 May 2015.


Participation at CSW59

Published March 3, 2015 by transfeminists

Dear friends

It is with great excitement that we announce our workshop at the 59th session of the Commission for the Status of Women in New York during March 2015. Social, Health and Empowerment conducted the Transilience Research Project on violence against transgender women in South Africa during 2014. Needless to say that the findings is nothing short of eye-opening, we ask that our friends and supporters attend this session. Please click on the link below for more information.

Transilience flyer

Hope to see you there, thank you, and please share widely!

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures…

Published January 8, 2015 by transfeminists

What does Nadia Swanepoel’s recent hunger strike mean for transgender South Africans?

By Leigh Ann van der Merwe
8 January 2014

The common phrase “desperate times calls for desperate measures” gained new meaning when 25 year old Nadia Swanepoel went onto a hunger strike in order to get a reaction from the Department of Home Affairs about her application to have her gender amended following a gender transition.

Nadia’s story made headlines in several publications and other news agencies. She went onto a hunger strike for five days in an attempt to get the Department of Home Affairs to amend her identity documents to reflect her new status as a woman.

According to the Alteration of Sex Description Act 49 of 2003,
“….Any person whose sexual characteristics have been altered by surgical or medical treatment or by evolvement through natural development resulting in gender reassignment, or any person who is intersexed may apply to the Director-General of National Department of Home Affairs for the alteration of the sex description on his or her birth register”.

Home Affairs

Yet, this is just another beautifully written piece of legislation with no real implementation, as was proved in the Nadia Swanepoel case. South Africa is a country with some of the best-written laws. It is one of the only countries in the world that provide constitutional protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The burning question, however, is whether gender identity, as outlined in the Constitution is meant to be interpreted in favor of transgender persons, or is it meant to be interpreted to be addressing women’s (cis-gender) rights only.

One of the problems related to Act 49 is the ambiguity of the language in the Act. There seem to be confusion about the interpretation of the wording natural evolvement. Is this meant to be addressing intersex persons, or could the same wording be applied to, for example, a transgender person who has only undergone a social transition? “The fact that there are no guidelines or regulations for this legislation further complicates this aspect”, says Busi Deyi, Research Coordinator of Cape Town organization, Gender DynamiX. The application process for gender rectification is also quite rigorous and time consuming. Following a very technical application process requiring two doctors letter, several DHA forms, new finger prints taken, set off a bureaucratic process with a never ending wait.

Bringing a community voice to this problem, a trans man from Johannesburg who chose to remain anonymous said he first applied for gender rectification with the Department Home Affairs office in Johannesburg in 2013. His story is not a far cry from that of Nadia Swanepoel. He has been given the run around by the department of Home Affairs for over a year now. He has been referred to different sub departments within DHA and has spoken to several people about the issue. As a last resort, he turned to the NGO’s working on gender issues to take up his problem with the DHA. Only now, even the NGO’s need written consent from their constituents to follow up cases with DHA on their behalf, another screw added to an already bureaucratic wheel.

This comes at a high personal and emotional cost for trans people who are already marginalized within their communities and often their families too. “I am working as a quantity surveyor and need to sort out my drivers license as part of my job. This is on hold because my application is somewhere in the system”. This also comes at a high price emotionally. “Often trans persons are asked incredibly intrusive questions with regards to their genitalia and this is a traumatizing experience for a lot of persons”, said Deyi, and some are just pushed to desperation in the search for gender recognition. In an interview with etv, Swanepoel said she would never have taken on this hunger strike if the DHA responded to her application in reasonable time and manner.

There is no doubt that there must be change within DHA. Deyi says there have been past and ongoing advocacy efforts to change the situation for trans people applying for gender rectification. “Home Affairs must take the Constitutions call for organs of state to respect, protect and promote the rights contained within the Bill of Rights”, she concludes.

TransFeminista Quarterly Newsletter, Vol 1, Issue 3, 2014

Published December 11, 2014 by transfeminists

Dear friends

Sorry for the late arrival but here is the 3rd issue of 2014 for our quarterly newsletter, The TransFeminista! Click on the link below to download the PDF version of newsletter.

Transfeminista Vol 1; 3rd ed 2014

Enjoy! And remember we value your feedback! Contact us on media@transfeminists.org

Till next time!

S.H.E Feminist Internship, 1st quarter 2015

Published December 11, 2014 by transfeminists

Friends, colleagues and supporters

It has been a while! We are writing with exciting news for 2015. S.H.E is offering a feminist internship during 2015. Please click on the words (link) below to access the call and remember to get your application in on time.

Call for 2015 feminist internship

Till next time!

Media Statement: Access to affirming care for transgender people in the Eastern Cape

Published October 4, 2014 by transfeminists

Dear colleagues, friends, family and supporters

Today, we are writing on an optimistic note today. Please click below to see the media statement issued by us yesterday with an update on the health care access for transgender people in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
You might all be aware of the patriarchal context of the Eastern Cape and how religious and traditional thinking often influences this. Please click the link below to read the media statement and also feel free to share.

Media Statement EC trans Health Care

Thank you for your ongoing support and remember we like hearing from you all.