Leigh Davis

south africa

“I was asked to come and speak about the movement building of the SistaazHood support group for transgender women sex workers. As always, when I am invited to these events, I am a little confused by most things here and I have to ask some white people to help me figure out what to say and do.

It’s not that I don’t know what I need or that I don’t know how to mobilise people like myself, or that I don’t know how we do it. It’s just that these spaces are not for me. They are also not about me. They don’t speak my language. And by this I don’t mean one of the 11 languages of South Africa. I mean like the language of a poor, homeless black person speaks. I mean the language a transgender sex worker from Cape Town speaks. Do any of you know my language?

I feel your side glances, your blind spots, your superiority, and I see you developing advocacy for your needs. One of the reasons we have to gather is our first barrier: How to get past your violence. Because your are supposed to be the ones representing us. The other violence is easy. Rape us, beat us, shame us. We are used to it. But your violence and exclusion is treason. It hurts the most.”


Violence in educational institutions


In a study on the transgender population in Kuala Lumpur, 72 of 97 respondents reported being bullied by peers while in the educational institution due to their gender identity, gender expression and/or sexual orientation. Bullying incidences include name calling, pushing, beating, punching and kicking, yelling, becoming a laughing joke.

Dress code and school uniforms were imposed based on gender binary, which made 61 of the 97 respondents feel uncomfortable with these politicise.

28 of 97 respondents faced disciplinary actions during their study in educational institutions because of their gender identity and/or gender expression. 16 respondents stated that they had stopped attending educational institutions due to discrimination and harassment based on their gender identity, gender expression and/or sexual expression.


Access to education


A study on the situation of the trans community in Buenos Aires highlighted the differences in access to education between trans men on the one hand and trans and travesti women on the other.

79% of travesti and trans women who are not currently studying (at any educational level) wished to do so, while only 4% reported that they had finished their studies. Meanwhile, 30% of trans men had finished their studies and 45% expressed a wish to continue their studies.

The barriers for studying for trans and travesti women are lack of money (36,9%) and lack of time (22,3%), followed by fear of discrimination (13,6%). Interestingly, the fear of discrimination was the main barrier (39,6% of respondents) in the edition of the study undertaken 11 years earlier, before the Gender Identity Law came into effect.



latin america and the caribbean

In Latin America and the Caribbean, there is very little knowledge and information on the social conditions of the trans population. To fight this, REDLACTRANS has created the CEDOSTALC, a community system which offers first person information based on the reports on human rights violations suffered by the trans community in Latin America. To implement the CEDOSTALC, REDLACTRANS carried out programs aimed at training trans women to document human rights violations in their countries. The aim of our work is to raise the awareness to revert the historic context of violence and prejudice suffered by our community. The work carried out by REDLACTRANS activist has resulted in the publication of several reports in different countries and regions: “Waiting to Die” (2016), “Stop the Trans Genocide” (2018), “Stop Killing Us (2019-2020), “Trans Lives in Times of the Pandemic” (2020) and “We are not dying, we are being killed” (2021).