Across the country, lawmakers, religious leaders and the majority of the public are pushing policies that prohibit transgender people, who identify with a gender different than the one assigned to them at birth.
The common analogy in space is that the trans-genders will contaminate the young society by converting them to their beliefs and likes thus leaving their normal and naturally known behaviors of man.
Religious leaders, political leaders and some Ugandans always complain that letting trans-people stay with the general community and enjoy their rights like other people will corrupt the entire society despite the lack of threads of evidence to such arguments.
According to Mubiru Arthur, the Executive Director of Initiative for transformation empowerment an organization that fights for and protects the rights of trans-genders, some people don’t identify their gender as the sex they were assigned at birth. Some people, for example, may have been born with a penis, and designated male at birth as a result, but later realize that they identify as women and typical social standards of masculinity or femininity don’t apply to them. These people are adopting forms of gender identity and expression that aren’t related to their body parts or what sex a doctor decided they are at birth.
“We need our society because right from our childhood we are affected by the way we feel and because no one is there willing to listen to us or help us instead we are discriminated, this has affected many of us mentally and at the end of the day, we cannot work because we are isolated in the society. Here in Uganda when you come out as a transgender person here in Uganda automatically, they will call you a homosexual yet in actual sense transgender persons are not homosexual unless their sexual orientation is gay or lesbian, we are just gender diverse persons whose human rights have been violated politically, socially, economically, culturally. They are very many people who have been expelled from school because they way look,” he said.
Mr. Mubiru added that because of what they are their rights have been violated by both the local community and the law enforcers. He added that they have been denied access to health care yet they are living entirely on health care packages. “Our living depends on health therapies, hormone replacement therapy, mental therapy we need a lot of healthy personals to help us but here in Uganda it’s always too hard yet we need that. We are biased with depression and anxiety how about if we are given ears and listened to, we are not enemies! We were born like you, the society needs to understand us, even the Doctors fear working on us in fear that they will lose their permits.”
“Our parents, religious leaders, and all leaders must know that we are not the same our genders and sexualities are not the same, tomorrow might be your son or daughter or any relative, therefore, it’s better to learn and unlearn from each other. There is a need to sensitize all these groups, we are not recruiting anybody but if we learn and live harmoniously, we may reduce stigma in us and even the way our relatives suffer.”
Jojo Desire also a trans woman narrated her story of how she has suffered discrimination right from his village to the extent that she was once taken to the Police and arrested because her character and because she was spoiling the young children.
“People of our kind (Trans-people) have been around since, only that history has always left them behind and probably most people have not researched about it but they have been there and because of the culture and social norms people our kind have always been seen as reproaches. Leaders in the community have not taken any steps to learn more about us but they have just discriminated against us, we have been subjected to beating and unfair treatment by Police and even church leaders, and we have been chased away from our homes, and jobs.”
She added that “Most people call us demons and treat it as an adaptation of western culture but this is not true. Societies in Africa still lack a proper understanding of what a transgender person is. Even government must come up with a policy of inclusion for us, we are not enemies. The society that discriminates against us is that same society where we find rapists that rape young people and we are not that, society, leaders at all levels being politicians or religious need to accept and listen to us.”
Many people particularly those who have never met a transgender person are naturally curious about what it’s like to be trans-gender. There may be unfamiliar terms, conflicting information, and uncertainty around what is and isn’t OK to ask.
The vast majority of Ugandans are cisgender, meaning they identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. Perhaps because people who are not cisgender have not been known there’s an exposure gap for many Ugandan and Africa at large. For them, it can be difficult to understand how, for instance, a person born with a vagina and raised as a woman might identify as a man.
However according to Mr. Mubiru, their advocacy is the society to give them a chance and explain, and let them live in harmony like other people.
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