31st March, 2023
Statement to commemorate Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) 2023.
March 31st is Internationally recognized as Transgender Day Of Visibility; a day set aside to celebrate transgender existence, assess the journey to equal treatment and forge strategies on how to bridge this gap. For the past few years, Kuchu Times Media Group has shone the focus on transgender persons in Uganda, shared their success stories and created visibility around services tailored for transgender persons.
The oxymoron that comes with #TDOV 2023 is transgender people in Uganda have never been more afraid to be visible than they are right now. Matter of fact for our trans siblings, the best gift to share this day of visibility is the gift of invisibility! When 98% of the legislative house votes to criminalize your mere identity, you have no option but to shove your head back into the sand. As a nation we have told transgender people to undo whatever progress to the journey of freedom from their bodies and held them captive. Th life imprisonment sentence does not start the day the bill is enacted and unfortunately arrested; the life sentence begun the day a bill forbidding people from being who they are was passed.
This day of visibility, we shall not ask our siblings to come out and put their lives in jeopardy. As Kuchu Times, we know that we have always been here and always been visible. Although it seems like the clocks have been reversed and all progress undone. How did we go from a country that recognized transgender persons in the strategic plan against HIV/AIDS or one that issued national identification cards to persons who have transitioned to a country that criminalizes identity? Although transgender persons themselves cannot be visible, we would love to hear from the partners who have been carrying out this service delivery with transgender persons. The onus lies on you to tell our stories and raise visibility on what this bill could do or is even already doing to us.
To our fellow countrymen, before Uganda; our bodies are our first homes. We are not trying to make anyone uncomfortable in their home, we are simply making ours feel like home. Our identity honestly has no impact on any other person but ourselves, stop listening to ill-conceived propagated lies that are not founded on the transgender experience.