International Women’s Day 2020
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March, TGEU joins the voices of trans people around the world in denouncing oppression, violence, and hate against women and non-binary people in all spheres of life.
Today we call for the unconditional support of trans women of colour, poor women, non-binary disabled people. We stand in solidarity with women whose wellbeing and lives are threatened by misogyny and sexism, as well as by transphobia, racism, xenophobia, ableism, and anti-sex worker sentiments. We honour the lives of trans women of colour who face chronic worldwide violence, resulting in an average life expectancy of only 35 years. According to the Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide project, the majority of trans people reported murdered in the US and Europe are trans women of colour. We call on governments and those in the upper echelons of power to respect, safeguard, and fulfil the rights of all women and gender non-conforming people.
Inclusion matters. Now more than ever, we need to embrace diversity and challenge gender norms that isolate, silence, and perpetuate harm on women and gender non-conforming people. We urge activists and policymakers worldwide to illuminate the invaluable contributions of women including those who are trans and gender non-conforming who are fighting for a safer and equitable world.
To that end, TGEU is sharing the stories of loss, hope, and resilience of two trans women of colour refugees as examples of the challenges faced by many trans and gender non-conforming women. Read, share, and please remember to support the visibility and equality of trans women and non-binary people everywhere, every day.
I was born and raised in Uganda, however I have since relocated to Dusseldorf, Germany. Being a human rights activist in generation 2.0, I consider myself a “social media queen advocate”. This is mostly because I harness the opportunities that online platforms avail to call out injustices and to show the world that people like myself exist. I am a 25-year-old, caring, free-spirited transgender woman and my name is Alicia Houston Nalunkuuma.
Being trans online and offline
I believe there are many platforms and ways in which one can be an activist. As minorities, we have to make sure we use all the platforms accessible to us. We have to show that we exist and reshape the negative views people have about us. Whether it’s in arts, music or fashion, the more we are seen and heard, the more people realise that we are also human beings with skills and things that we hold dear like everyone else.
For me, there is no difference, whether online or offline; I portray myself and my life in the same manner. I think some Trans people see the difference in that they are some advantages to being Trans online. They can choose what they want people to see and believe and to some extent, influence what the audience thinks or says about them.
Decision to leave
I am an outspoken person and passionate about human rights. In Uganda, I was well known for speaking my mind and being resilient. I was not only active online but also involved in LGBTQI organisations participating in marches, training and events. I was also Miss Pride Uganda and Promo Queen Uganda between 2015 and 2017. It was both inspiring and humbling to have my fellow activists and community recognise my efforts awarding me with prices for fearlessly taking the lead in championing for the rights of LGBT people in a hostile place like Uganda.
Consequently, this visibility also made me vulnerable to threats and my life was at risk. For me to see another day and continue advocating for our rights, I had to leave my home country. I was living in constant fear, dealing with daily dangers of societal and police brutality fuelled by government and media vitriol. I eventually got tired of this intoxicating trans and homophobic hate-filled country. I also felt I was tired of running, hiding and being in denial. I wanted to live a life where I could fully express myself as a transgender woman without having to conceal my identity in some spaces.
Intersectionality according to me
For me, Intersectionality is the social category of people in gender, colour, class sex and many others. It means our lived experiences and realities cannot be limited to just one group as they are all linked one way or another.
Activism experiences in Uganda vs in Europe
In Uganda, I was just a Trans person, now in Europe, I am a Black Trans person. The challenge is the race issue. Many don’t want to associate with black people they have a way of ignoring and undermining capacities which is both problematic and saddening.
Message to my 15-year-old self
Alicia, everything will be okay its only a matter of time. Believe in yourself because if others can do it, so can you. Pay no mind to what people are going to say about you, stay focused good things await. Put your trust in God because he is the only one who knows you.
I have many people that have influenced me in my life Beyoncé Karungi, Grace Kagere, Richard Lusimbo, Pepe Oziema, Apako William, Keem Love Black, and other trans people that I look up to.
Today I celebrate
That I am still alive, so I thank the almighty for the gift of life.
My life motto
I am a better person than the one judging me. My gender identity is not a crime if you have a problem with it; you are the problem.