Transgender activists parade in Uitenhage


“It is very difficult to be who we are”

Photo of woman dancing
An activist who gave her name only as Yara was among those who danced outside the Uitenhage town hall. Photo: Joseph Chirume

In Uitenhage on Sunday, transgender activists in the Eastern Cape focused on homophobia and on the dangers of HIV/AIDS.

Outside the town hall about 15 transgender people sang and danced with members of the public.

The event was organised by the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute which is part of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of the Witwatersrand and is funded by USAID.

USAID Nelson Mandela metro manager Pretty Jena said the event aimed to recognise and celebrate transgender women in Uitenhage.

She said the Wits Reproductive Health Institute had an agreement with the Department of Health and was currently implementing a transgender programme at the Port Elizabeth Central Community Health Centre.

The Director of Miss Gay Eastern Cape, Bradley Coltman, said he had come to offer moral support to the transgender activists. He appealed to the public not to attack gays, lesbians and transgender people.

“It is very difficult to be who we are because some communities do not accept transgender people as well as gays and lesbians. They scorn us and even assault some of our members,” said Coltman.

He said his organisation had hundreds of members in the province and urged those who had not done so to come out and express their feelings.

“It is everybody’s choice to come out at their own time. But I urge them to use platforms like our organisation and events like this transgender parade where people share ideas and their experiences. Every person was born to lead the life they desire and to follow the path they want. People should not be ashamed of being gay or lesbian.”

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TOPICS:  Gender

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