Jabu Pereira is African, a Trans man and an advocate against all forms of injustice, especially related to Trans, Queer, Gender non-conforming and Intersex persons. Jabu is the Director of Iranti-org a Lesbian and Trans human rights documentation and advocacy organisation based in Johannesburg. Iranti-org works in South Africa, the region and at a global advocacy level.
We met personally Jabu Pereira for the first time in Athens at the ILGA-Europe Annual Conference. After several informal talks, laughs also between some food and drinks we realized that our visions beside similar were also an opportunity. An opportunity to fulfil the same end: a world aware of diversity.
The cover photo of this interview is an article written by Jabu Pereira thyself for the Mail&Guardian for the occasion of the Africa Trans Visibility Day held today at Women’s Jail, Constitution Hill Precinct, Johannesburg.
In that article, Jabu gives us the personal perspective on intersectionality: “The rejection of my body based on race and my gender expression is a struggle against racism and heteronormativity“, explains after telling us an episode in they childhood when going to the beach and a sign read “WHITES ONLY”, “was my first pained experience of my body being legally wrong and unsuitable for swimming in the ocean.”
Action for Identity wanted to know more about this day and we were able to catch Jabu between all the work to answer us these questions in a five 5 minutes interview.
Please read it below.
Ação Pela Identidade – API: What is the Africa Trans Visibility Day, how many times it already happened, and why is this day being marked and organized?
Jabu Pereira: This is the 1st African Trans Visibility Day. We came together as Trans activists from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and informally brainstormed the idea. Now we want this to happen every year. We want Trans Visibility to be in different parts of our continent. Already the first Trans and Intersex Pride was held in Botswana. It has been happening for the past 5 years.
This day is marked with International Human Rights Day, World AIDS day and 16 days of no violence. We have these intersections in our lives. We demand that our governments look at us every year as they focus on these days.
As our first day action, Africa Trans Visibility Day is going to be amazing. Just by the mere fact that we have created a space for ourselves, for our lives, for our narratives and for our existence makes this day amazing and liberating.
API: What will be going to happen?
Jabu: We are hosting Africa Trans Visibility Day at Constitution Hill, at the Women’s Jail. This is such a historic site in South Africa’s struggle against Apartheid. Here, feminists and liberation freedom fighters like Winnie Mandela, Shamim Meer, Lillian Ngoyi and many others were imprisoned for fighting an unjust system. Now, we have claimed this space, as ours. We will celebrate our freedom but also fight for our rights in this current democracy as Transgender bodies are violated and silenced. In addition we have invited Trans activists from Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zimbabwe to join us in this Africa solidarity day. It’s a joyful moment to stand tall and together in our fight against poverty, inequality and violence.
API: Which is your role in the organization, and what is your personal expectations about this day?
Jabu: Iranti-org is playing a facilitative role in putting Africa Trans Visibility Day together, we don’t want to claim the space as ours, because it is not ours. It is the space of every Trans activists from various organisations coming together to create a political action. I am so happy that we can being such an important campaign on this footing. The space is open to everyone to create subversive work, to share their work and to be as vocal and active as possible. We hope this will grow as we collective action our bodies against gross violations.
Interview in Portuguese/Português: Entrevista exclusiva com Jabu Pereira – Dia para a Visibilidade Trans em África