KT: Please give us an introduction of who you are, what you do and how you are affiliated to TYIU?

NM: My name is Nana Miller, I am an unapologetic rural transgender youth sex worker activist and trans feminist. I’m the founder and Executive Director of Trans Youth Initiative Uganda (TYIU)the first rural transgender youth sex worker and gender diverse led organization in Mbarara.

KT: When was TYIU founded and why?

NM: Trans Youth Initiative-Uganda (TYIU) was established in December 2017 after recognizing that the LGBTI and the sex worker movement mostly centred in the Central part of the country. Most rural trans persons and sex workers had to travel to Kampala to access certain services- this realization drove us to start up an organization to meet our needs. We aim to promote the rights and interests of rural transgender youth and sex workers.

KT: What inspired the idea of the drop in center?

NM: Rural transgender youth and sex workers in our region (Mbarara and the surrounding areas) experience a lot of transphobia, discrimination, violence and criminalization by many health service providers which has caused severe effects to their physical and mental wellbeing. This has limited their access to and use of vital sexual and reproductive health services. They also face massive and systemic discrimination within the health care systems from instances of humiliation and degradation to outright refusals to provide sexual and reproductive health services.

These discriminatory practices force the already marginalized and vulnerable rural transgender women, transgender youth sex workers and gender diverse youth to go further underground hence limiting their access to sexual and reproductive health services.  These issues were our inspiration in setting up TYIU as we sought to create a safe space for our members to access friendly, quality, comprehensive, integrated SRHR and HIV/AIDS services center. The Initiative is supported by the International Trans Fund (ITF).

KT:  What services do you offer?

NM: The drop in center offers services ranging from STI screening and treatment, HIV testing and Counselling, Oral Quick Tests, Condom use demonstration and distribution as well as distribution of lubricants, first aid, enhanced effective referral, linkage and retention into HIV treatment, prevention, care and support services, PrEP, psychosocial support services, referrals to proctology, HIV literacy treatment awareness, adherence information and resources on hormones and hormone therapy.

KT: Seeing as trans youth are your target audience, do you offer hormonal therapy? If yes, what is the criteria?

NM: No, currently we don’t offer hormonal therapy but planning on doing so in the near future. However, we do offer resources and information on hormone therapy and hormones.

 KT: How does your target group access these services?

NM: The drop in center is open from Monday to Friday to respond to the members, but for one to see a doctor they have to book an appointment via email