Category: Diaspora

20 March 2014 – Nikilas Mawanda granted asylum in USA

Nikilas Mawanda, a trans man and activist from Uganda and founder of TIT (Uganda), is granted LGBTI asylum status in the United States of America months after fleeing his home in Uganda due to the state-sanctioned violence from the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed by the Ugandan parliament earlier in the year.  TIT is representing Transgender, Intersex and Transsexual. Nikki is one of the trans activists who collaborated with Gabrielle le Roux for the Proudly African portrait drawing series, which was created during the Eastern and Southern African Trans/Gender Identity Institute, December 2008.

June 2013 – Victor Mukasa granted asylum status in USA

Ugandan transgender leader Victor Mukasa, with assistance from Immigration Equality,  is granted asylum status in the United States after fleeing Uganda due to fear of persecution for his gender identity.  Victor is often informally considered a pivotal role player in the trans movement in Africa.  

25 February 2006 – Biko Beauttah seeks and receives asylum in Canada

Kenyan-born Biko Beauttah arrived in Canada to seek asylum because being considered non-heterosexual is a criminal offense in her home country.  Biko left Kenya a few years prior to attend college in the USA.  Having come from a background where your entire being is against the law, there is no language or terms around sexuality or gender and Biko only realized while studying in America that she was identifying as transgender and not gay.  Fearing for her life if she returned to Kenya, she arrived at Toronto Airport on 25 February 2006.  Here she was detained for 36 hours before receiving asylum in Canada.  She spent a further 6 months in a refugee shelter before a landlord agreed to rent an apartment to her.   After Biko received asylum, she became a human rights activist championing the rights of transgender people with some of her achievements  including being the founder of Trans Workforce in 2014,  the world’s first job fair aimed at creating work opportunities for people who identify as Trans or Gender Nonconforming, and becoming a board member of The 519 in 2015,  a Toronto-based agency serving the transgender community of Toronto by assisting with refugees, counseling and training. One of the highlights in Biko’s personal life was her appearance on ‘America’s Next’ Transgender Model, as part of the Tyra Banks Show, in itself raising awareness of trans equality and tolerance.