On Friday 14 April 2023, the SOGIESC unit attended and presented at the Gender Dynamix Model Policy Framework (MPF) Launch and Colloquium convened by the Office for Inclusivity and Change (OIC) at the University of Cape Town (UCT), in collaboration with The Gender and Violence Prevention Unit also from the University of Cape Town. The launch follows the celebration of Trans Day of Visibility on 31 March 2023.
The University of Pretoria was represented by Naledi Mpanza, an LGBTIQ officer at the Centre for Human Rights Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Unit and junior researcher at the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G). Mpanza presented the context for Trans staff and students in the higher education space with reference to the University of Pretoria’s Trans Protocol. Mpanza also reflected on different research being conducted at the University of Pretoria to address the needs of Trans and Gender Diverse persons on campuses.
Elana Leah Ryklief, a doctoral student at Stellenbosch University was the keynote speaker for the day. Her keynote address dug deeper into the issues faced by TGD students in higher education. Ryklief wove in her academic work with her personal experiences, with specific reference to her discrimination as an Honours student by a ‘feminist’ lecturer who openly targeted her through statements that trans women are not women. Her keynote reiterated the violence of a cis-heteronormative society which enables harm against Trans and Gender Diverse persons. Her forthcoming PhD focuses on ci-normativity in the classroom and builds on her Master’s research (cum laude) titled ‘On Passing-Que (e ) r (y) ing the Appropriation of Aesthetics by Transgender Women.
Other speakers included: Dr Sianne Alves (Director of the Office for Inclusivity and Change (OIC) at the University of Cape Town), Liberty Matthyse, (Director of Gender Dynamix), Khanyisile Phillips (the Education Advocacy Coordinator at Gender Dynamix) as well as Mamello Mathews, the Legal officer for the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) who openly pledged the CGE’s supported the Model Policy Framework.
The programme was dynamic and included two drama skits by the Phefumla Collective on the harmful school policies that restrict trans and gender diverse learners; as well as a panel discussion by student representatives from Universities in the Western Cape addressing the successes and challenges in addressing trans and gender diversity inclusion initiatives on campuses.
The Colloquium wrapped up with a hand painting pledge by representatives of organisations invited to endorse the MPF.
The Centre for Human Rights is grateful to be part of a community advancing the rights of sexual and gender minorities through advocacy and academia.
For more information on the Trans Protocol and research on TGD students please contact: