This is me!

Herbert Ayesiga Nov. 15, 2021

As transgender people, they come from all walks of life - and it is estimated that there are more than 2 million of them across Africa. They are parents, siblings, and kids. They are your coworkers, your neighbors, and your friends. They are 7-year-old children and 70-year-old grandparents. They are a diverse community, representing all racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as all faiths and traditions.

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The word “transgender” – or trans – is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to then at birth. Although the word “transgender” and their modern definition of it only came into use in the late 20th century, people who would fit under this definition have existed in every culture throughout recorded history.

The community in Uganda is incredibly diverse. Some trans people identify as trans men or trans women, while others may describe themselves as non-binary, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, agender, bigender or other identities that reflect their personal experience. Some of them take hormones or have surgery as part of their transition, while others may change their pronouns or appearance.

This leads to cyber harassment from the transphobic society through hate speech, trolls and phishing from fake accounts that pretend to extract information for blackmail.

Transgender people are facing a lot of challenges like lack of legal protection, security, poverty, stigma and discrimination, sexual harassment, gender - based violence, poor health care services. And for many other violations there has been no data collections specifically for trans people in Uganda.

There is a need for guides for trans people towards creating self-diagnostic tools for trans human rights defenders, and activists facing attacks from the police, bloggers, journalists who keep writing different stories about them, as well as providing guidelines for digital first responders to assist a person under threat.

Quotes from the trans community

One single vulnerability is all an attacker needs to hurt people, so let us spread love and not hate by Anna Xwexx Morena, a trans woman from Uganda, a team leader of Anna Foundation.

“A safe space online is a collective responsibility of yours and mine” - by Amanda

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“In an era of covid-19, trans women have come to a realization that digital human rights and security are inter-twined and there is need to integrate skills and knowledge on how to use online social media platforms for the empowerment and building capacities of the transgender women community in what digital security means” - by Monalisa Akintole

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