Auntie Tiwonge and Steven Monjeza celebrated their relationship at Auntie’s place of work in December 2009. Various mainstream media in Malawi published announcements of the “first gay marriage” in Malawi. This media attention alerted the authorities and Auntie and Steven were arrested on charges of gross indecency. Gender DynamiX (GDX) developed a media drive that highlighted to various local and international media that this was not a “gay wedding”, as Auntie identified as a woman*. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), now known as OutRight International, the Open Society Initiative for  Southern Africa (OSISA)Amnesty International, and many other organisations, both in Africa and internationally, advocated on the couple’s behalf and wrote letters to the Malawian government to drop the charges*. The charges were not dropped, however, and Auntie and Steven were arrested and eventually sentenced to 14 years of hard labour.

* This article acknowledges Auntie as a [trans] woman.