Transgender people around the globe step into the limelight

Transgender people around the globe step into the limelight

Today on the 31 March, transgender people around the globe step into the limelight to break the silence, affirm their identity, determined to speak out and reclaim their autonomy, agency and voice. Seanny Odero, Kenyan transactivist of TransAlliance, explains why the International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) day is important.

For trans people, TDoV is a day of protest challenging historical marginalisation of trans people globally spotlighting discrimination trans people still face.

"Transgender people regularly experience stigma, discrimination and violence while seeking social services. This leads to disparities in access, quality and availability. In 2019, nine trans organisations in Kenya worked together with state and non-state actors, including 12 county governments in Kenya, to undertake the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS). This survey is first of its kind and spotlights the injustices trans people face:

  • Denial of primary health and comprehensive gender affirming services with healthcare workers being the largest drivers of discrimination
  • Low educational attainment levels with an overwhelming majority hardly finishing primary education
  • Trans people live in extreme poverty and the significant associations of this economic vulnerability predispose trans people to homelessness
  • Incarceration marred with police brutality and sexual assault
  • Mental health diagnosis remains illusive with an overwhelming majority of trans Kenyans lacking healthcare insurance
  • The significant associations in a person’s HIV status and number of sexual partners averagely 1-9 monthly, drug use, active sex work, net household income and suicidal attempts were significantly detrimental.


One thing stands out though: the remarkable resilience of transgender people and their families.


My call to action in light of this year's International Transgender Day of Visibility is:

  • Need to address sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression violence in educational settings that directly impact on low educational achievement levels and address the impacts mental health.
  • Promote stronger and fairer policies that govern the criminal justice system interactions with the transgender community including non-binary recognition.
  • Create an enabling environment that guarantees safety, security, privacy and upholds human rights in shelters is paramount
  • States, corporate institutions, businesses and the private sector must respect, protect and remedy business rights violations
  • Abolish mandatory requirements for legal and gender recognition that indignify the bodily autonomy and integrity of Trans people
  • Interface primary healthcare services domesticating WHO treatment protocols for trans people while remedying extreme forms of stigma, discrimination, and violence by healthcare workers.

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