Frequently Asked Questions about us & what we do

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 get actively involved in advocacy and the work of current Trans and Intersex organisations, (NGOs, CSOs or groups – formal or informal). Instead, our aim is to document, record and archive the work of activists, community members and organisations. 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.
 

What terminology do you use in the timeline articles?

 

Terminology changed over time.  Words and descriptions that were acceptable in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s might not be acceptable anymore in today’s times – at all! The TIHA website, however, records, reports and archives those stories.  

When interviewing someone about their experiences during or before the early 2000s, it is important to note that it was in the order of the day, in those early years, to talk about or distinguish between ‘Transvestites, Trannies/ Tranny, and Transsexual’.  The most “progressive” word in the early 2000s would have been ‘transgender’. In 2010 the most progressive word to use was Trans* and from there it moved to Trans, Trans masculine, and Trans feminine, or a “man/ woman with trans experience” – depending on what the person preferred. 

The earlier Gender Non-conforming (GNC) are nowadays replaced by Gender Diverse.

Another example is in the earlier years it was acceptable to refer to sex change surgery, and later on it was replaced by Gender Reassignment Surgery. According to the latest terminology, it is correct to refer to Gender Affirming Health Care or Gender Affirming procedures. 

It will be an error of the TIHA website to brush all these complexities over by referring only to descriptions or words such as Trans. For the TIHA website, It is acceptable to use the terminology as it was practised and accepted in the period the article is about.

Intersex activists worked hard over the past 20+ years to raise awareness and advocate for language that avoids using the term hermaphrodite. During the early 2000s through to the mid-2010s, the correct word or term introduced and accepted was intersex. Nowadays the terms ‘intersex’ and ‘differences in sex development’ (DSD) and note; not ‘disorders’ are both equally accepted and can be used interchangeably.  However, it is true that Southern Africa prefers the term intersex while East Africa has debated about moving away from the term intersex completely to differences in sex development (DSD) but the term intersex is still widely used and accepted.

What time period do you record/document on the timeline?

 
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.  

Initially, the timeline ended in 2016 – an era where trans and intersex activism was vibrant and with multiple trans and intersex organisations throughout the continent continuing the work. After deliberations, we decided to extend the ‘closing year’ of the timeline always to be 3 years short of the current year. It will therefore be on a rolling end date.
 

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 info@transintersexhistory.africa.   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, groups 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.    

We are aware of many organisations and the announcement of founding dates that are still to be included, and that will be our priority, to, before the end of 2023 include as many as possible organisations, especially if they are from countries that we do not have a single organisation yet. This is to ensure a wide as possible representation. Please contact us if you want to submit information.

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. We also plan to host a representation of the poetry and performance art by Neo Sinoxolo Musangi.

Further website development will include a gallery of historical videos as 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.

Look out for another new section – in the next few months we will start to roll out audio clips, LIVE discussions and conversations with trans and intersex individuals who share stories and information. This part will be led by Victor Mukasa and promise to be interesting, vibrant and full of reflections and deeper discussions. 

Your contribution is important to us..

Do you want to see your Organisation on our Timeline?

You can provide information about your organisation or group – including photos, documents and articles.