The Swazi beauty and brains

My name is Zikhona Mbagana aged 26, I am a heterosexual transwoman born and bred in Swaziland. Being a trans* person in a country like mine is very challenging. On a daily basis as I leave my house I know I am bound to face harassment on the streets, some hateful words from people, especially at the public bus terminal areas. I can say one of my worries is the difficulties of finding a  job owing to the incessant stigma and discrimination by employers. Accessing a trans* friendly hospital where I can safely get hormones is a dream for trans people in my country. I could always get hormones through the back door from pharmacies, however, I fear that I might get medical complications should I fail to get the right dosage or proper medical monitoring. The thing that also contributes to continued discrimination is the gender marker change, it is not possible to get your ID changed by authorities, so even if you were to self-medicate, you would find yourself faced with that challenge of national identification particulars that match your gender. The trans* community is often excluded from national discourses concerning health matters, consequently, we lose out on the possibilities of engaging with key stakeholders to have our issues included on national agenda.   As it stands the discussion on key populations mostly include language concerning gay and lesbian persons, it is commendable that the health ministry is now making efforts to include trans* people in programming, as they now have developed manual address trans health related issues. There is also the disturbing issue of being sidelined by other  LGBT groups who feel trans* issues are too complex or not a priority.

However it is not all doom and gloom,  despite all the challenges, I do get some support from my siblings, family and friends in and outside my country. I also get exposure to training and meeting other trans persons during international conferences and meetings in the region, this helps me a lot. It is also a bit comforting to know that my country does not criminalise homosexuality or trans* and gender non-conforming people.  My aspirations

Like everyone i als have aspirations. My one wish is to continue with my studies and finish this year since I once dropped out owing to lack of funds.  Somehow I  think getting a degree will broaden my horizons in terms of career prospects also wish I could get a job in Media and  Communications field.

When it comes to relationships, my fears of being with someone who wont value me as a human being explains why I am still a virgin. I, however, hope to get married to the man of my dreams and have a beautiful family. I hope and wish Swaziland will have hormones, laws supporting trans* people, homosexuals and gender non-conforming people. I also wish to see a trans*  friendly clinic and legislation that protects LGBTI people.

I am inspired by people who have triumphed even in very bad situations and those people who rose from humble beginnings and are doing work to help others.To my trans* family out in the world, stay positive , don’t let anyone hold you down, focus on life goals, strive to  achieve greater things be proud of yourself.

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