What they tell us.
In Malawi, Transgender people are often unlawfully persecuted under the country’s harsh criminal laws, for instance, the penal code criminalises consensual same-sex sexual activity. Although Section 20 of the country’s constitution guarantees citizens the right to equality and protection from discrimination on a number of grounds. Gender identity and sexual orientation, are however not included on these grounds.
In society where the majority of the citizens are deeply religious are culturally conservative, homosexuality is not only sinful but shameful. Most people do not have an understanding of Transgender issues, thus being trans is considered to be the same as being homosexual.
Queerstion contributor MN from Malawi, Blantyre. He caught up with fellow Trans individuals to find out how people treat them in a deeply conservative and religious country like Malawi. Below are their responses.
In my family, society and at church they strongly believe that I am being used by the devil and I that I have a satanic spirit.
Whiz (23 )Blantyre.
My father says I need to behave like a woman. He beats me up whenever he feels I am not doing girly things.
Upendo (20) Blantyre, student.
People in my community say that I am a bad influence on other youth, they do not allow their children to associate with me. This explains why I do not have friends
NM .(23), Blantyre
In my neighbourhood people shun me, they believe I practise satanism. Some even suggest that I should have the evil demon exorcised. My family does not support me, but they also do not condemn me, they are just silent. Memory Blantyre (22)
Because of my gender expression, people have started calling me Illuminati. In many social places, people are afraid to come near me those who dare get closer always offer to pray for me. GM( 25) Blantyre.