Feminist Alliance Program

Feminist Alliance & Women’s Movement Building Program

This program at S.H.E is aligned to strategic objective four, Gender equity and equality for transgender women in the regional (African) movement (trans and feminist) and inclusion of trans women issues on the feminist agenda.

S.H.E positions itself as a feminist organisation working with trans women to ensure that we align our issues to the broader feminist movement.

It is important for us to maintain a feminist focus at this time as trans women are underrepresented in trans organisations, our voices are not being heard and thus our specific interests as trans women are not being sufficiently supported, defended or advocated in the various arenas.

An anti-trans attitude among some feminist groups has been noted and there continue to be some feminists who are of the opinion that trans women are socialized as men and can therefore not understand the struggles of women.

These women assume that all trans women, in their former (or imposed) male personas come from a background of male socialization and whatever privilege might be attached to it.

While this should be judged on an individual basis, in the lives of African trans women, this is an unfounded assumption. Many trans women report a very oppressive upbringing influenced by the cultural norms of patriarchy.
Trans women would like to point out that their challenges need to be recognised as women’s challenges and those challenges should be analysed using a feminist lens. It continues to be important to interact and encourage feminist/women’s groups to connect to foster intersectionality between different groups and movements of women and feminists. Anti-trans feminists often base their exclusion of trans women on biological determinism, an argument that have been shattered time and time again.

Under this programmatic area, we implement :

Feminist consciousness grassroots training; workshops conducted with grassroots trans women to promote the African Trans Feminist Charter.
Feminist Summer/ Autumn School; An annual one-week workshop conducted in East London (South Africa) with the focus to foster intersectionality with and among different groups of women including but not limited to; women living with HIV, young women, trans women, lesbian women and rural women.
African Transformative Feminist Leadership Institute; A biennial one-week institute that bring together trans women from the region for capacity enhancement to engage in their local women’s and feminist movements.

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