The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre), is proud to commemorate Trans Day of Visibility, which falls every year and is celebrated internationally on 31 March. This day is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the contributions of trans gender and gender diverse individuals in our society, and to raise awareness of the challenges and discrimination that they face. Trans Day of Visibility Founder Rachel Crandall-Crocker, a Michigan-based and licensed psychotherapist and transgender advocate, chose the month of March to not to ‘step on the toes’ of other Trans Day of Remembrance on 20 November or American Pride Month in June.
Trans and gender diverse persons have long been subjected to discrimination, stigmatisation, marginalisation and violence throughout society, with devastating effects on their quality of life and wellbeing. The Centre unequivocally affirms the rights, health, and humanity of trans and gender diverse persons. Every individual, regardless of their gender identity, has the right to live free from discrimination, violence, and persecution.
The Centre recognizes the importance of ensuring that trans and gender diverse persons have access to quality healthcare that is respectful of their gender identity and that they are able to live their lives in accordance with their gender identity. We also acknowledge the need for legal recognition of gender identity, which is essential for trans and gender diverse persons to fully exercise their rights.
The Centre therefore calls upon African governments to take steps towards the recognition of trans and gender diverse people and to eradicate of violence against them. The Centre also calls on national human rights institutions, civil society organisations and law enforcement authorities across the continent to commit to the implementation of Resolution 275 of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on ending all forms of targeted violence against LGBTIQ+ person and human rights defenders.
As part of our own ongoing commitment to promoting human rights and social justice, the Centre is pleased to support the ‘Born Naked’ play, directed by Kirsten Harris. This play is a powerful and moving exploration of the lived experiences of the LGBTIQ+ community, particularly the two queer characters navigating their way through vibrant, colourful and sometimes violent spaces in South Africa. In many respects the play is also a dramatised expression of the struggles of queer people on the African continent. It highlights the importance of celebrating, respecting and honouring all individuals, regardless of their gender identity or expression. This month, the Centre hosted participants from the Advanced Human Rights Course in Sexual and Gender Minority Rights in Africa for a special screening of the play, followed by a panel discussion where the audience interacted with the production team to unpack the inspiration behind the striking dramatic artwork.
As we mark Trans Day of Visibility, we encourage everyone to take a moment to reflect on the importance of respecting and celebrating the diversity of our society, as well as engaging with credible resources in order to challenge the misinformation, violence and erasure directed at transgender diverse persons. The University of Pretoria’s Trans Protocol is one step towards addressing these issues through creating a safer environment for trans and gender diverse persons in our community. The protocol is designed to address the unique challenges that trans and gender diverse persons face, and to ensure that they receive the support and respect that they deserve.
The Centre calls on individuals, organisations, and institutions to support and use the University of Pretoria Trans Protocol and other initiatives that promote respect and dignity for trans and gender diverse persons. The Centre also invites members of the public to join in dialogue to promote knowledge and visibility of the LGBTIQ+ through the Pretoria-Marburg Queer Conversations. The online conversations, collaboratively hosted by the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G), Centre for Human Rights along with the Center for Gender Studies and Feminist Futures (CGS) and the Center for Conflict Studies (CCS) will be streamed on Zoom and Youtube to all participants that RSVP. Speaker biographies as well as RSVP information can be found here in due time.
For further information on the Trans Protocol and LGBTIQ+ rights in Africa please