Who are we?
TIRZ is a newly formed youth, trans* and intersex-led organisation. We are funded by a small programme grant from the Other Foundation. We consist of an advisory committee of Zimbabwean trans* and intersex activists based around the globe, a management team of four queer persons based in Harare, and a team of twelve trans* and intersex identifying volunteers (known as Community Advocates), spread across Zimbabwe. We focus on strengthening the trans* and intersex communities and their allies, so they can advance themselves. We do this mainly through community-level interventions in the sectors of religion and culture, information development and sharing, health, personal support structures, and livelihoods. We are guided by the principle that arming the community and its allies with relevant information and psycho-social support will give them the personal and organisational power to advocate for their own rights in the relevant spaces. What was the issue? Zimbabwe’s trans* and intersex community is a hidden one (even within the national queer movement). Very little accessible data exists to guide and motivate the work that needs to be done around promoting access to health for this community. In addition, members face several barriers that limit their ability to access health care:
(i) lack of understanding of themselves as trans* and intersex persons, and their unique health care needs;
(ii) lack of supportive personal and community structures to encourage and promote their access and adherence to health care; and
(iii) health services and service providers (SPs) that are not equipped to provide trans* and intersex specific health care.
What was the change we wanted to see?
We wanted to see trans* and intersex persons equipped with an understanding of their identities and the unique health issues that come with these identities. We wished to see trans* and intersex people having the selfassurance to advocate for, and seek, health services because they have supportive allies in their families, friends, and other personal structures; as well as service providers who offer the desired services.