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Namibia to host trans-gender conference

in NAMIBIA, 04/05/2012

A local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex organisation in collaboration with five other Southern African countries’ transgender and intersex organisations will be gathering in Windhoek from 8-10 May. The project is funded by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA). The conference will be held at Hotel Thule and delegates from Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana will attend.

“This will be a very important forum to bring the Namibian trans-and-intersex community together with others to set the agenda on the issue of health and human rights at this event,” Linda Bauman, the director of gay rights organisation, Out-Right Namibia (ORN) says.

According to Baumann the event will be historic for the Trans Activist Movement of Namibia (TAMON) which was started in 2010 to engage on key issues along with other activists from other countries. The Director of Out-Right Namibia, Baumann told Informanté that, “As a movement we are not fearful of police raiding or closing the meeting as there is a provision of protection from our Constitution. Namibia is not like Uganda.” Baumann has been an activist within the LGBTI community rights for the past 12 years and noted that “the safety of our delegates is not threatened at all and the meeting will achieve its goal by fulfilling its objectives.”

The OSISA-funded conference will strengthen the gay rights movement in southern Africa, with the specific objective to create a better understanding of the political and legal situation of the trans-gender and intersex community in five southern African countries. The conference will also share knowledge of health, legal and other services available to trans-gender and intersex individuals in each of the participating countries.

“The need for access to health services for trans-gender and intersex people is not acknowledged when it comes to medical reassignments” Baumann said. “The issue of identity documents change is also of concern, as well as the right to employment, the right to gender identity and access to hormonal therapy and treatment.”

According to Gerald Uiseb, the conference will also look at what future collaboration between the six participating organisations or groups could look like. Uiseb says that the delegates will develop a strategic plan for each organisation present and will plan for regional advocacy that can advance the health and basic rights of trans-gender and intersex people in five southern African countries.

Uiseb who will be one of the two Namibian delegates at the conference together with another trans-woman Deyonce Naris from Keetmanshoop, says “there is a huge number of trans-community members in Namibia.”

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