Hail the ‘Queerns’
They are Womxn, they are resilient, revolutionary, change makers and they are Afrikan. From the students’ movement in South Africa, to the refugees movements in Sweden these women are at the forefront of the struggle for Trans rights and respect. The five women below are representative of the many revolutionary trans women living and leading the struggles from different corners of the world and we celebrate you all.
“Never stop agitating the establishment. Even if it kills you, agitate!”
Sandile Ndelu (above), Sandy is a 22- year- old final year postgraduate law student at the University of Cape Town. She comes from a small town called Umkomaas, in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Sandy is the co-founder of the Trans Collective, a support group for trans students at the University of Cape Town. She was also one of the organisers of the fees must fall students organising against exorbitant university fees as well as injustices by school authorities in South Africa. Sandy’s motto for resilience is: “Never stop agitating the establishment. Even if it kills you, agitate.”
“Everyone has a right to choose where and how they live their life”
Sumita Rafi is from Egypt. She is a law graduate and a trans rights activist. Although Suma left Egypt owing to violence and death threats, she has continued to advocate for LGBT rights for asylum seekers. While in Istanbul with help from other LGBT organisations based in Turkey and abroad, Sumita initiated and led Tea&Talk an LGBT refugees rights lobby and support group. On relocating to Athens, she also created Welcome LGBTQI refugees group.
Suma who is currently based in Sweden believes, “Everyone has a right to choose where and how they live their life. Whether Trans or not, no one has the right to force you to be someone you are not or decide how you must live your life.”
In her motto for resilience, Suma says: ” As Trans people, we have been living in the shadows for years, scared and lonely. Nobody deserves to live like this. Trans people already experience hard lives, so please and don’t make it any harder.”
“Duty has no gender”
Tiara is a 25-year-old Zimbabwean. As a grassroots Trans rights activist, Tiara was key in the mobilising and organising of the Trans community in her country. She volunteered within the Zimbabwean LGBTQ community as a peer educator, documenting and conducting research. Tiara is based in Washington DC where she is also actively involved in trans rights movement and working with Trans youths. Her motto for resilience: “She who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.” As a Trans feminist Tiara believes duty has no gender.
pic by Lihlumelo.
“Your body is revolutionary, your mind is important and your heart is beautiful.“
Seoketsi T Mooketsi, describes herself as “a colonial black, poor, rural, queer trans intersectional academic feminist invested in decolonisation politics, and the ‘fallist’ student movements across South Azania”. She is s Bachelor of Social Science in Sociology and Political Sciences student at the University of Free State. Seoketsi is the founder of Rural Trans Love an initiative for Transdiverse people based in remote areas.
Her motto for resilience: “Dearest Seoketsi, your body is revolutionary, your mind is important and your heart is beautiful.”
Seoketsi says: “When I am not stressing about cis-normative, heteropatriarchy, white supremacist, imperialist capitalist patriarchy, I am reading literature from Audre Lorde, Bell Hooks. I am inspired by Marsha P.Johnson and Simon Nkoli, and woolgathering about what plans to do with the land.”
“I will not rest until the sun comes down.“
Her motto of resilience:“ I will not rest until the sun comes down.”
Zikhona Mbagana is a 26-year-old transwoman who was born and bred in Swaziland. She is currently studying for her BA in Communications and also works part time in an organisation for sexual reproductive health rights.She is a Trans rights activist who believes the voices of transdiverse people should be heard. Our rights should be recognised and respected this includes the right to gender markers, personal documents should reflect the gender that reflects how we identify.
“I also believe that initiatives like Queerstion magazine will hep educate diverse communities about the challenges that we as Tran* people face. Those who cannot live openly as Trans* will feel included and draw strength from others.
Message of resilience: Stay strong and motivated do not let anyone bring you down.