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Friday 19 September  
Being transgender in Zimbabwe
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

'As long as it's out of my sight': Transgender in Zimbabwe

Published on : 28 May 2014 - 12:50pm | By RNW Africa Desk (Photo: Enrique Lopez/RNW)
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Zimbabwean society, like many parts of Africa, is not very welcoming to lesbians, gays, transgenders, bisexual and intersex people (LGBTIs). Few people have stronger testimony of this than Ricky Nathanson, a transgender woman living in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, who has been prosecuted for using a ladies toilet while being legally considered a man. Many Zimbabweans strongly feel that being anything but heterosexual is unnatural and should not be tolerated, while others feel that one’s sexual orientation should not bother the next person.

In this weeks edition of Speak Up, three young people listen to an intense personal interview with Ricky, and they give their own thoughts about LGBTI issues in their society.


Host/Producer: Emmanuel Nkomo, Bulawayo

Speak UP! is an audio show in which young Africans discuss thorny social issues without pulling any punches. It is created by a selection of young hosts and producers in Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Rwanda, Nigeria and Kenya, working in partnership with local media organizations and RNW. Each edition of Speak UP! provides YOU with a chance to express yourself – because everybody wants to be heard.

To read more about Ricky's story, click here. And if there’s a topic you’d like to speak up about, get in touch with us via Facebook or Twitter!



Anonymous 3 June 2014 - 3:27pm / Zimbabwe

Yes im from zimbabwe and im disgusted by homosexuals shame on you for supporting such.. its a mental disorder..why would you have sex with a man when there are plenty girls.. all homosexuals should burn

lo 2 June 2014 - 6:00pm / Zimbabwe

I am not certainly sure if anyone person can be born gay. I am not gay. I do not believe in all that.

Love NOT Hate 2 June 2014 - 2:46pm / Zimbabwe

People who keep citing anti-gay sentiments as "afrian culture" don't seem to know african culture at all. Ask the "female wives" of Kenya, or open up a book (for goodness' sake) and read about the protected rights of african homosexuals pre-colonisation. Our problem as africans is this: we take what the white people told us was our culture and we have erased what really was our culture (the same is true and manifested in our so-called "traditional law", which was recorded by the imperialists through their eyes and perceptions), but through our own ignorance we fail to realise 1. our history where that is the argument 2. every culture evolves! Every african on the continent would scandalise an african from history in one way or another.
I would also like to add that there are proven cases of homosexuality among animals. So can we just drop that argument please?
Finally, as a Christian (yes, really) I believe that our sexuality is a God-given thing, and while one may struggle with lust for the opposite sex, another struggles with lust for the same sex. Needless to say, there are many permutations that cannot all be explored here, but we as africans need to ask ourselves when we will stop kicking fellow human beings in the face, treating them as sub-human out of so-called righteousness? It's just hate and oppression masquerading as holiness. Why don't we turn our thoughts and efforts to building our continent instead of worrying about the sexual lives of other people, whose attractions do not change the cost of bread for you in any single way.

Anonymous 2 June 2014 - 10:03pm / Rwanda

Exactly, You could not tell it in a better way. Ignorance is the main threat to humanity.

Anonymous 2 June 2014 - 10:50am / zimbabwe

We have no room for that behaviour in Africa. We will never accommodate it. Its just not us ,its not our culture therefore noone should try to shove it down our throat. We have our right as Africans to defend our conservative culture so we can never tolerate it. If you want such ideals i guess you can go to nations where this is legal. If you want to avoid extradition you go to countries where they have no extradition treaties. We will let that infiltrate our society.

Anonymous 2 June 2014 - 10:13am / Zimbabwe

It's a demon trying to corrupt our young generation and needs to be flushed out of our society for good. God created man and woman and He is not confused as to if a man should be with another man or woman with woman. If you come near me with that silly misguided view of human rights blah blah allow gays bullshit i will burn you too. I HATE THEM!!

Beoone 1 June 2014 - 6:31pm / Zimbabwe

I personally salute all african leaders who are making it possible not to have gays in our lovely times you can think that im not gay and it wont affect me but after some time you can see it does affect you ....i personally think its a demon which enters one's blood and it need deep divine intervention

Beoone 1 June 2014 - 6:30pm / Zimbabwe

I personally salute all african leaders who are making it possible not to have gays in our lovely times you can think that im not gay and it wont affect me but after some time you can see it does affect you ....i personally think its a demon which enters one's blood and it need deep divine intervention

Anonymous 31 May 2014 - 1:29pm / zimbabwe

i cant believe humans want to be the first animals to be confused about their sexuality while all other animals including dogs know what sex they are

Anonymous 30 May 2014 - 8:14pm / south sudan

i wonder where some African countries want to go, because it is really more than animals instinct... well some of the trans-genders are leaning there wickedness on human rights but that one is not case because you are naturally born the way you are as God instructed in spirit. you are a male get your opposite sex as well a female. i strongly condemn such heinous act.

Anonymous 30 May 2014 - 6:32pm / Uganda

If only people would be open minded and not so close minded. I'm a thirteen year old boy who is gay. I know how it feels to rather die than be who they really are. A person is born gay. You can't change that because they are born that way. You can't say that Homosexuals being around affects your children because your child can never become gay if he/she wasn't born that deprive us of our rights you create a world of hate?If a person wasn't Born This Way don't you think he/she would change in order to avoid being punished for being gay. I'm like gonna flee from home and live in South Africa where I can live in peace. My family won't even love me anymore when I tell them I'm gay.

grosiramazonplus 31 August 2014 - 4:58am

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yuppie jay from jay family entertainment music group 29 May 2014 - 7:14pm / south sudan

Africa is a large continent and it has one common culture that's keeping Africa strong and out off wrong life styles off the other continents so those who do dat have totally disappointed the whole of Africa and the African people. dats what jay family is singing songs of motivation and carriage of gud acts and peace we don't want them spoil our reputation. Zimbabwe, and south sudan is one people, nature color and we move Africa together.

Anonymous 29 May 2014 - 4:55pm / Uganda

I agree totally that wat happens in someone's bedroom is their own affair but i think that we need to raise the red flag regardless of country or race when some of these habits threaten to spill out of their bedrooms to affect our children where ever they are. After all the ideais to keep more people joining and these hbits flourish. What better way than to poison the minds of the little ones?

Anonymous 28 May 2014 - 4:45pm / Zimbabwe

Important discussion. LGBTI rights are shocking in this country. Being transgender/intersex/gay/lesbian affects no one but the parties involved. What happens in someone else's bedroom doesn't affect you in any way. We must give them equal rights as people.

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