Ugandan Transwomen Demand an End to Gender Based Violence and Institutional Prejudice Against Them

IGLHRC believes that a vital part of our mission is supporting the work of activist organizations and allies by disseminating important information on human rights issues affecting LGBT communities worldwide. To this end we are posting this statement on World AIDS Day from Transgender Equality Uganda.

For Immediate Release: November 30, 2012

Contact for More information:
Beyonce Tushabe,Transgender Equality Uganda
Cell: +256752462818 (English)

Kikonyogo Kivumbi, Uganda Health and Science Press Association
Cell: +256752628406 (Luganda, Kiswahili)

Crested Crane Lighters

Art for Humanity, East Africa

Midcentral Network for Sexual Health and Rights, Mityana

Kampala, November 30, 2012: On the occasion of marking World Aids Day 2012; and observing the 16 days of activism against gender based Violence in the World, we the leaders of Civil Society Organisations addressing the plight to freedom of transgender people in Uganda make this call of urgency to the Ugandan government and Civil Society, particularly women empowerment groups to speak out against societal and institutionalized violence meted at transgender women in Uganda.

Transgender women are caught in between extreme levels of societal and institutionalized prejudices when they are mistakenly taken for homosexuals and face violence, arrests, torture, ridicule and rape.

We are particularly alarmed at the increased cases of attack on transgender women in the wake of the eminent retabling of Uganda’s Anti Homosexuality Bill 2012 in Ugandan Parliament. Transgender women by virtue of their facial expression; caught in the wrong bodies are often a target for mob justice. Trans women are stigmatised to go for Voluntary Testing and Testing because of the fear of explaining themselves to biased health staff asking whether they are men or women.

“Even in lawful custody of police, transgender women face further sexual humiliation when their genitals are touched by male police officers without consent to prove whether they are men or women. This is totally unacceptable,” Ms Beyonce Karungi Tushabe, a transsexual woman and Executive Director of Transgender Equality Uganda ( TEU), a transwomen led and founded organization said Friday.

While transwomen have freedom and rights to sexual orientation and gender identity, their unique and immediate needs are not highly articulated in women emancipation struggles and demand for rights in Uganda. This vulnerability fuels HIV infection among our community, that must be addressed with due urgency.

We therefore specifically ask government and civil society:

  • To prioritise and introduce transwomen rights initiatives in their rights advocacy and programming undertakings
  • Mainstream transwomen rights into gender based prevention programmes to put an end to violence and abuse
  • We condemn the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2012 in its totality and demand its full withdraw from Ugandan Parliament because it will further enslave transwomen when every one believes they are gay, and hence potential mob justice targets.
  • Introduce hormonal replacement therapy into public health facilities

We demand an end to sexual abuse in lawful custody for transwomen coming into conflict with the law. jailing transwomen with men is a grave human rights abuse that all women should stand up to denounce

Note for the Editor:
Many people in Uganda are not informed about transwomen and their unique needs. a lot of information is from anti gay groups who cause misunderstandings by claiming transpeople are all homosexuals, which is not. Many transwomen have been assaulted. Look these links: http://transgender-uganda.blogspot.com/2012_01_01_archive.html Visit and support transwomen: http://transgender-uganda.blogspot.com/2012/01/profile-picture-for-transgender.html