The Transgender Education and Advocacy (TEA) is an international human rights organization working towards defending and promoting the human rights of transgender/transsexual people. TEA is registered in Kenya by the NGO Coordination Board under the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government.
Who are Transgender People?
Transgender people are individuals who are undergoing or who have undergone sex change (sex reassignment). Sex change (sex reassignment) involves changing the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of a person to that of another sex. For example, a male person goes through a sex change by use of hormone therapy (estrogens and anti-testosterones agents) and surgical procedures. On the other hand, a person raised up as a female gets testosterone injections to develop male characteristics such as growth of a beard, deepening of voice and development of muscles.
Transgender people experience a persistence discomfort with the sex assigned at birth and seek medical procedures to change their bodies to match the gender they identify as i.e. their gender identity. In addition to medical change of sex, transgender people undergo social and legal transitions processes. These involve change of dress and gender presentation as well as change of names and sex marks in their identification documents(birth certificates and national identity card), travel (driving licences and passports) and academic documents (certificates).
Types of Transgender People
Transgender people are broadly classified as:
- Transgender Men – people changing from female to male sex
- Transgender Women – people changing from male to female sex
Transgender People Are Not
- Cross-dressers/Transvestites – these are people who cross dress for sexual, political and other reasons. They do not desire to live as another gender.
- Homosexual/gays/lesbians – Transgender people are not people who are attracted to people of their sex. In fact, transgender has nothing to do with sexual attraction; it is about sex change. Gay people are individuals who are attracted to members of their gender. Gays and lesbians are not interested in sex change i.e. they are comfortable with the sex they were raised us. Transgender people can be sexually attracted to anyone and almost all identify as heterosexual (straight). For example, a transgender woman (male to female sex change) who is attracted to a man or woman is heterosexual. A transgender man (female to male sex change) who is attracted to men or women (or both) is heterosexual.
- Impostors – Transgender persons are not people who claim to be what they are not in order to engage in fraud or criminal activities.
- Sex workers/prostitutes – Well, some transgender women and men are sex workers for a variety of reasons, much the same way some cisgender people (people who don’t undergo sex change or non-transgender persons) are prostitutes.
- Intersex (hermaphrodites) – Intersex persons are individuals who are born with atypical or ambiguous sex characteristics. For example, some are born with ambiguous genitalia, others with atypical sex chromosomes’ configurations e.g. XXY, XX/XY (mosaics) etc, congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), complete or partial androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS/PAIS) etc.
TEA’s activities include :
- Providing legal aid to transgender people wishing to change their names, photos and gender marks in their identification, academic and travel documents e.g. academic certificates, national identity cards and passports.
- Lobbying for legal reforms to put laws in place that will reduce discrimination towards transgender people.
- Sensitizing policy and law makers, health care providers, civil society organizations, educators, the general public and other stakeholders about transgender, gender and sexual diversity.
- Empowering transgender people with skills and information thereby eradicating poverty, economic and sexual exploitation in the transgender community.