PRESS STATEMENT | A new collaboration to support trans and gender diverse refugees in South Africa

Date: 14/04/2022

Established in 2005, Gender Dynamix (GDX) is the first registered Africa-based public benefit organisation to focus solely on the transgender and broader gender diverse community. What started as a mere vision, slowly grew into a grassroots organisation. GDX has since become an institutionalised non-profit organisation (NPO) that is fundamental to the development of the trans and gender diverse movement(s) in South Africa and across Africa. Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental human rights organisation, started by a group of activist lawyers in 1979. LHR’s programmes do strategic work in six specific areas of human rights law with specialist legal practitioners and activists’ staff in each programme. LHR employs a holistic approach to social justice and human rights enforcement that includes strategic litigation, advocacy, law reform, human rights education, and community mobilisation and support.

As Gender Dynamix and Lawyers for Human Rights, we are embarking on a project that seeks to dismantle the rampant discrimination against transgender and gender diverse migrants in the asylum seeker system in South Africa. Lawyers for Human Rights published a critical study that assessed the forced migration system from a trans and gender diverse perspective. Our collaborative endeavour will seek to legally represent trans and gender diverse migrants, and we hope to be able to engage in robust sensitivity training in collaboration with the Department of Home Affairs and the South African Police Service, as frontline staff.

Our situational analysis exposes Afrophobia, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia – and thus requires a crafted advocacy strategy that will raise awareness, improve migrant detention and emphasize adherence to standard operation procedures in a dignified manner. It will interpret gaps, transfer knowledge and create a climate where your gender identity or sexual orientation is not cause for rejectionfor asylum seeker status in the Republic of South Africa. Trans and gender diverse bodies lived experience will consistently remain at the centre of conversation and strategy in addressing unhelpful and unjust structural, societal and systematic barriers.

Finally, as a cohort we seek to raise awareness amongst local and regional activists on the need for improved services to all who seek refuge due to undemocratic states of origin that criminalise their identities.

If you are or know of any trans and gender diverse migrants and asylum seekers who would like to get involved in the process, please do get in touch with us:

Thank you for joining
Thank you for joining the LHR Newsletter, we will be in touch soon