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ZIMBABWE IS COMPLETELY IGNORANT over transgender issues according to – transgender activist – Nathanson who was forced me out of Zim due to harassment
The known Zimbabwean transgender activist Ricky Nathanson has revealed that the harassment he got from the state when and after she was arrested for entering a female toilet in Bulawayo left her with no option but to seek asylum in the United States of America where she is now based. Nathanson said in Zimbabwe transgender and intersex are so much associated with homosexuality which society see as evil and un Godly based on the Bible verses about homosexuality.
Nathanson had a brash with the law enforcement agents when a Zanu PF youth activist Farai Mteliso caused his arrest in 2014 for entering a female toilet at Palace Hotel.
Mteliso claimed she was a male. Nathanson was discharged by then Bulawayo magistrate Abednicho Ndebele based on the inconsistences in the charges she was made to face. However this was not the end of the battle for her. In July 2017 she sued the police for wrongful arrest and Mteliso for causing her arrest.
Represented by Advocate Perpetua Dube, Nathanson filed the lawsuit at the Bulawayo High Court demanding US$10,8 million in damages from both the police and Mteliso.
Nathanson recently won the court case and the police were ordered to pay her. She recently said the Zimbabwe society is completely ignorant on transgender issues hence the way she was treated during and after her arrest. “There is lack of knowledge in Zimbabwe on the distinction between Sexual Orientation [SO] and Gender Identity/Expression [GIE], hence the acronym SOGIE,” she said.
“The problem with the Zimbabwean society is that there is no distinction or recognition of transgender individuals [GIE] aside from the gays and lesbians [SO]. Trans Women (those whose gender identity is female even though they were assigned male at birth) are said to be gay, assuming that because they present as female, they sleep with men.”
She argued that the same could be said of the Trans Men (Female to Male), where they are deemed to be lesbian.
“Gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation, and society needs to know that,” she said. She said gender identity is something which is innate and cannot be helped by the individuals.
“I am a prime example for being locked up in a prison, and grossly ill-treated at the hands of the police because I present as female, albeit being assigned male at birth,” she said.
She said she went through a life changing experience to the point she now reside in the United States of America. She said sexual rights are part of basic human rights, and they are interlinked.
“Internationally, one’s sexual orientation is seen as a fundamental sexual [human] right. Criminalization of same sex- relations contravenes this right, and needs to be repealed,” she said. – Stephen Jakes
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