Friday, November 21, 2008

A Trans in Uganda

Like it is worldwide, the travails of a Trans are that much more arduous than a gay man. Or a lesbian. From today's monitor.

Tororo’s man who loves to be a woman

Augustine Emojong


A Tororo man who was in 2006 arrested for assault wont stop wanting to be a woman.

Popularly known as Fatuma Segiyirira, the impersonator fought over a man with another woman at Nagongera township in a bar where ‘she’ worked as a barmaid. Segiyirira was taken to Tororo Central Police Station where ‘she’ was kept in the female cells.

Segiyirira was then produced in court on charges of assault and sent to Morukatipe Prison where he was also kept in a female inmates’ wing. He was later discovered to be a man after he reportedly started threatening to infect fellow female inmates with HIV/Aids. The Police added another charge of impersonation and he was returned to Morukatipe Prison in the male wing.

After serving a one-year sentence, he was recently released. The detention appears not to have change him. Segiyirira had been on the loose again until last week when his luck ran out for the second time. He had been to Mudakori Trading Centre in Tororo where she had camped looking for a job of a barmaid.

This time round, he called herself Margaret.

Residents told Daily Monitor that after spending some days in the area, he had attracted the attention of many men. He allegedly conned many of men and declined to have sex with them, pretending that he was in his menstrual periods. His luck ran out last weekwhen a curious young man tried to touch his ‘breasts’ at a drinking joint, only to get amused when a sponge fell down.

The LC1 Chairperson, Mrs Angella Okello and other women, took him to a separate house to check and ascertain his gender but were shocked to discover that he was a mature man. Drama then ensued as he was stripped and beaten by angry residents who forced him to walk naked for over the 5km stretch to Tororo Central Police Station.

Hundreds of curious onlookers thronged the streets to see the great woman who had turned into a man.

While being stripped, Segiyirira was found to have tied his manhood with a string, passed it between his legs and tied the string at the back of his waist to convince everyone. Some of those she had gone with say he used to smear tomato sauce on his panties to always deceive the men that he was in his monthly periods after drinking their beers and being offered some cash.

The Tororo District police Commander, Mr Gaudencio Okumu, told Daily Monitor on Monday that it was very unfortunate that Fatuma had continued with the same character after being released from prison. “We are finalising the charge sheets and he will be taken to court again on charges of impersonation and other charges which we shall find appropriate,” said Mr Okumu.


An exercise in futility?

I had stopped myself from commenting about Segiyirira- but that has been short lived. What crime has this lady committed? Daring to dress like a woman. Deceiving her acquitances. Those seem to be the most heinous crimes, according to the article. And what has been the punishment, which the community meted out fast and furiously?

  • A not so public check to confirm the genital sex.
  • A public beating.
  • Paraded naked, for 5 good kilometres
  • Jailed. Was there any mention of bail or police bond?
  • To court soon, charge- impersonation. Of a woman. (Any woman!!!)

The police commander is not happy. Second time offender, so more charges, he adds grimly.
The price of ignorance. Why should a man dress as a woman? Why would one risk one’s very life to do that? As a gay man in Uganda, I realize that I am fine in a way. For a long time, and at great cost to myself, I have learnt to hide. It is simply a necessity of survival. I hide so well that I can get lost in my own deception.
A trans person in Uganda is more disadvantaged. Much more disadvantaged, and Segiyirira has paid the price. It could as easily have become a lynch mob.

Being what I am, I cant help thinking that all these things were crimes committed by society and the state against the individual... but then, I am biased.



Leonard said...

I keep wondering what I would have done in her/ appears that drinking was part of the deal and perhaps alcoholism was progressing and our friend NEEDED to make connections to a more perfect world, right, wouldn´t it be nice if our friend could go to school, find a job, find a loved one (there are many men who like transgender)...but, nope, it´s a very hard road ANYWHERE and Uganda is certainly included...I hope our friend/brother/sister finds a way to cope as time goes seems there is a bit of a corner that she is stuck in...such a understandable story...too bad most people don´t ¨understand.¨

Princess said...

I can understand them feeling deceived etc. etc.
But to strip him/her and parade him/her in the town naked?
A jail sentence?
A beating?

*By what right??!

Injustice. It infuriates me.

Lindsay said...

I wish I had seen this earlier. Sad :(

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