18 Nov To Be Transgender in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a country that does not recognize the rights or the visibility of the LGBTI community.
Laws and Policies
The Constitution of Zimbabwe does not state anything regarding transgender lives, issues, or communities. According to the Constitution, transgender people don’t exist. Additionally, it states that homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe, and will has been penalized.
Zimbabwe offers health care services to all people. As a minority group, we are not given the same services in clinics or hospitals. As transgender people, we suffer stigma and discrimination regarding accessibility to to healthcare. We are ridiculed if our gender expression does not match our bodies. Zimbabwe does not offer any gender-affirming health care.
It is not easy coming out as part of the LGB community, but lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are more visible visible in Zimbabwean country context. Because the transgender term is not known or visible, coming out as a transgender is rather hard because people do not understand this term.
Stigma and Discrimination
Transgender people face the most stigma and discrimination in Zimbabwe because of their gender expression. Most transgender people start transition at a very young age. Though they are not on any hormonal treatment they still live in the gender that they identify as. This confuses the cisgender and heterosexual communities as they do not understand what gender dysphoria is. This brings both stigma and discrimination and violence, at times ending up in assault and rape cases. Because Zimbabwe does not recognize the LGB community, being transgender is more of a risk living in Zimbabwe.
As transgender people, we are excluded everywhere, especially in the economic sector. As a trans* person living in Zimbabwe, it is very hard to get a job because of your gender expression. Oftentimes, you are forced to present as the gender you were assigned at birth because of societal construct. However, in the process, they notice your actions and the way you carry yourself. As a result, even if you are qualified for the job, you will not get it because you are going to be classified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, because transgender people have no visibility.