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The Politics and Limits of Transgender in South Africa

  • B Camminga
Chapter
Part of the Global Queer Politics book series (GQP)

Abstract

Through following the archive of the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality (NCGLE), an organisation that spearheaded LGBT rights concerns in South Africa in the early 1990s, alongside a close reading of various laws, legal statutes, and parliamentary discussions, this chapter tracks the evolution of transgender in South Africa from a discourse into a politics. Bringing the South African Refugee Act and International Refugee Law into focus, this chapter explores how asylum is made possible both globally and in South Africa for those who might identify or be identified as transgender. Through a close reading of the constitutional meanings of sexual orientation, sex, and gender, this chapter points to the radical possibilities of South Africa’s refugee regime. Drawing on the story of Malawian Tiwonge Chimbalanga and offering a post-colonial reading of transgender, this chapter asks what it would mean for a person to be seen as transgender, to be presumed to be transgender, but to never take on that term for themselves—to refuse that subjectivity—while seeking asylum.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • B Camminga
    • 1
  1. 1.African Centre for Migration and SocietyUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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