Trans Bantu Zambia: International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia this May 17, TBZ stands in solidarity with partners and allies who recognize this day, but would also like to raise some important issues as we reflect on what “IDAHOT” means in 2013 and beyond.

On Zambian soil, homosexuality and transgenderism is still deeply pathologised and criminalized which limits our ability to join in the celebrations that mark the achievements against homophobia. For Transgendered Zambians going through or not transitioning, we face daily transphobia and are routinely questioned about our identity and appearance. Some of the immediate consequences of this transphobia include; a withdrawal from our families, friends and community, isolation, depression, substance abuse and suicide attempts.

The recent inclusion of Transphobia in this internationally recognized day has created much debate within the Zambian Trans community and beyond. Questions around the sincerity of this inclusion has left many wondering how this day translates into action that responds to the needs and issues of the Trans community.

  1. Do we stand in solidarity yet face discrimination from the very same community that achieved depathologization?
  2. Who will lobby with and for us as we have done in the past for the wider Human Rights movement?
  3. Does the intersex community have a platform at these “celebrations”?

In true solidarity, the wider LGBTI movement should redouble our efforts to combat this terrible scourge and break the cycle of fear and violence, we must work together to improve education around the differences between sexual orientation and gender identity. Whilst acknowledging days like “IDAHO(T)”, let us stand together on common ground in understanding these differences and advocating against laws that criminalize love and diversity, and promote hate.

As Trans Bantu Zambia, we are committed to our members, friends and allies in our community, country and every region of the world and we are fighting for equality and justice.