What is the Trans Intersex History Africa website about?
The Trans Intersex History Africa website is a space where African activists share our archival collections, memories, reflections and facts.
Using a timeline of events, contributions include the founding dates of the early trans and intersex organisations, as well as individuals’ accomplishments in sport, art, music and other private domains along with passionate contributions towards positive change for trans and intersex struggles on the continent.
We are interested in documenting pivotal moments.
Are you an NGO or do you plan to become one in the future?
No. We are not an NGO and we don’t plan to form a new organisation or formal entity now or any time in the future.
We do not seek to focus or report on current trans and intersex matters, regardless of how important they are. We strongly believe that the countless African and international trans and intersex organizations and independent activists will continue advocating and doing the work about issues arising.
Our website exists in order to tell the stories of the past and to support the individuals and organisations in the trans and intersex movement by documenting their history.
Why intersex and trans?
We are aware that intersex and trans activists often advocate for the need for independent advocacy and the development of separate activism trajectories. There are also times both in activism and personal lives when these paths cross. But in the case of the early founding years and the emergence of what is known today as a gendered “movement” in Africa, the reality is that strong alliances were formed between intersex and trans activism during the early years of the movement, especially through advocacy and important collaborative projects. This represents a rich joint history that cannot be ignored. The history that we present on this website is based on the reality of those years, and it would be counterproductive and unfeasible to present two separate sets of records/ archives.
Why 1992 – 2016?
Several scholars have built a canon of knowledge on the existence of homosexuality, same-sex relations and gender nonconformity in a pre-colonial time, throughout Africa. In a contemporary context, however, LGBTIQ history has initially remained largely silent about African trans and intersex people, especially during the times before the frequent use of the internet and social media and there is very little archiving or information available in the era around the time of the turn of the century.
Our timeline is one of contemporary history and an effort to capture, record and share a history nearly lost.
At present, the timeline ends in 2016 – an era where trans and intersex activism is vibrant and with multiple trans and intersex organizations throughout the continent continuing the work. As the years pass, future phases of the website will evolve to include later dates.
Who provides or contributes the content?
During the initial development of the website, most of the information has predominantly been supplied by four African activists – Julius Kaggwa (Uganda), Liesl Theron (South Africa), Victor Mukasa (Uganda) and Gabrielle le Roux (South Africa). All four activists were actively involved in various ways and forms prior to and during the inception years of the African trans and intersex movement as it is known today. Over the years we became good friends and after many discussions realized that we had a shared aim to combine all the information that we collected over the years and present it at one platform that will be easily accessible to all who are interested.
Once we launched the website, we started to reach out to other activists and organisations in Africa to collect their stories and to ensure that the information supplied by us is factually correct.
We continually update information and we welcome any verifiable submissions. Tans and intersex organisations, activists and community members are welcome to communicate information, images, and articles around our timeline period to, update existing information or include events not already existing in the timeline by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. At present, we will only include events that took place between 1990 and 2016 on the website but will accept verifiable submissions taking place outside of the timeframe and archive the information for future website developments.
What are your plans for the future?
We will continue to expand the timeline by including new entries and expanding on existing ones in order to develop a comprehensive and accurate database of information by using research and by reaching out to organisations and individuals known to us. We do however acknowledge that there are many community members, organisations and activists on the continent unknown to us and we will include SEO development to reach them and others interested in our timeline organically online in our content creation, development of our social media presence, and developing a customisable mailing system which will allow us to tailor content and newsletters to reach subscribers as often as they choose to receive it.
Future developments will include the development of an art section where we plan to showcase and discuss art developed during the time frame that covers our timeline. We will be expanding our collection to include a selection of artists representing an array of genres and art mediums. One of the first releases of the art section will include a separate time line to showcase Gabrielle le Roux’s series Proudly African and Transgender.
We are looking forward to sharing the early artwork of Robert Hamblin, including his series named Gender, and to release a private collection of photos by Prof Muholi that was previously given to a handful of trans activists and never seen in public before.
Further website development will include a gallery of historical videos a well as hosting podcasts and live interviews with activists and other community members to remember events taking place during the early years of the African trans and intersex movement.