Rikki Nathanson wins landmark judgment in Zimbabwe

This has been a momentous moment not only for an individual but for an entire community and region. Gender Dynamix would like to congratulate Rikki Nathanson on the massive victory achieved for trans and gender diverse persons against the Zimbabwean government. We recognise that the battle was a long one and that the legal victory does not entirely make up for the injustices, humiliation and human rights abuses she had to endure simply for being who she is, a transgender woman. It is our hope that the Zimbabwean government uses this case as a learning moment to ensure that it never again breach the privacy, bodily integrity, dignity and related freedoms of trans and gender diverse persons.

Rikki’s case has set a precedent that gender identity must be understood outside of the conventional cisnormative gender binary system for justice to occur for trans and gender diverse persons. The case involved Rikki being arrested by six riot police officers, detained for 48 hours and spitefully prosecuted on account of her gender identity for using a female designated toilet. The case dating back to 16 January 2014 concluded on 15 November 2019 with Bulawayo magistrate, Abednico Ndebele, acquitting her of criminal liability.  

This is a massive win for trans and gender diverse persons based on the precedent that it sets pertaining gender identity and it becomes a building block for future changes around recognition and protection. As GDX, we would like to thank Rikki for her courage in standing up against the government of Zimbabwe and for role-modelling strength. We would also like to extend our appreciation and thanks to the South African Litigation Centre (SALC) and TREAT for supporting and defending Rikki throughout her trial.

Yours in Solidarity!

Gender DynamiX (GDX) is the first registered Africa-based public benefit organisation to focus solely on trans and gender diverse communities. 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 southern Africa.

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