Introduction: Trans Travels and Trans Trajectories

Part of the Global Queer Politics book series (GQP)


In recent years we have seen a new phenomenon in Africa’s long history of migration: the journeying of people fleeing persecution, violence and discrimination on the grounds of their gender identity/expression. This chapter terms these people ‘gender refugees’—people who can make claims to refugee status, fleeing their countries of origin based on the persecution of their gender identity. ‘Gender refugees’ are different from sexual refugees in that their issues pertain to their gender identity and birth-assigned sex being perceived as incongruent. Drawing on life story interviews carried out between 2013 and 2015 with gender refugees, living in South Africa, along with documentary and archival work, this chapter explores how, when, and under what circumstances transgender-identified individuals from countries in Africa are made to journey, forced to seek refuge not just elsewhere but in South Africa specifically. This chapter presents some of the gender refugees that have journeyed to South Africa, considers how the term ‘transgender’ travels and provides a brief overview of transgender visibility on the African continent currently.


Transgendering Human rightsHuman Rights Transgender Studies Reader Transgender Women Refugee Stories 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

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