Being a trans rights activist isn’t exactly straightforward. Being a trans rights activist and a writer is more challenging still. Morally I have to write what I see as accurate and can defend, which often puts me at odds with other peoples views – especially hardliners, extremists and “brick-throwers.”
We all have different opinions, and sometimes that puts us at odds with each other, even in our own camp. My understanding, though, is in the UK, the gender-crits tear each other apart more than the trans!
But if I think I have a “hard time” of it – I can think of one of my Twitter followers who risks her life because she is trans.
Her name is Samantha, and she lives in Uganda. When we first meet on Twitter, she sent me a story of what had happened in her local village where LGBT+ people (whilst holding a clinic) were attacked, brutally beaten, and equipment smashed. She sent me images of people who, it would appear, had their limbs broken and, in one case, a picture of a man with his throat cut.
Uganda is one of the most dangerous countries on earth to be LGBT+ and being trans, and visual, must be as scary as walking on the M25 at midnight in the middle lane.
Very recently, Human Rights Watch gave an updated report of Global trends for LGBT+ folk over the COVID19 period. The UK had a significant amount of text (click HERE to see the full report), but they also wrote this:
Egypt was not alone in performing unscientific forced anal exams, that can rise to the level of torture: medical practitioners in Tunisia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka, among others, were complicit in performing them in 2020.
“Anti-LGBT bias was directly evident in responses to Covid-19 in all regions of the world. In, Uganda police detained some 20 LGBT homeless youth on spurious charges of breaking Covid-19 restrictions and tortured them in prison.”
Despite these and other dangers Samantha and her LGBT+ brothers and sisters continue to try and drive forward LGBT+ rights. They have found a “safe-house” and recently held training days for activists, with a five-day programme which she was excited to share with me together with a series of images which for safety reasons I will not share with you. This was their training schedule:-
Day 1 -Arrival and registration of participants. –Workshop administration –pre-test. Module 1 Basic knowledge about key populations ( trans persons) Session 1 introduction to key populations Daily evaluation and evening tea
Day 2 Module 1 continued Session 2 Stigma , prejudice and discrimination Session 3 Gender and sexuality Session 4 Risks and vulnerabilities among key populations Daily evaluation and evening tea.
Day 3 Module 2 . Key issues affecting key populations. Session 1 The legal and policy environment affecting access and provision of health services to key populations. Session 2.. sexual and gender-based violence Session 3. Creation of an enabling environment to provide quality services to key populations Session 4 Mental and health substance use Session 5 common STIs among transgender persons Daily evaluation and evening tea
Day 4 Module 3 Delivering services to transgender persons Session 1. requirements for delivering health services to key populations Session 2 Community health program for transgender persons Session 3 Models of providing health services and engagement of transgender persons Session 4 Differentiated services delivering models .. Daily evaluation and evening tea
Day 5 Module 4 : Monitoring and evaluation of transgender person services delivery. Session 1: Programmatic indicators that monitor the implementation of trans person interventions. Session 2 Work plan & post-test Session 3 Data collection tools and record-keeping. Daily evaluation & evening tea.
What is pretty amazing is despite the dangers, Samantha and her team from “Social Health and Empowerment Youth initiative Uganda” are continuing to work to help others as well as being true to themselves, for Samantha is indeed a gorgeous woman both on the inside and outside.
The dangers she and others in Uganda face though, put my activism to shame, and if we think we have problems in the UK – let’s start to think how lucky we are that the police are not going to arrest us for being trans – nor will we be physically tortured or perhaps even killed.