THE FIGHT FOR HEALTH CARE

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Donald Trump’s election into office and eventual  inauguration was met with a lot trepidation more so among the LGBTI community across America (and by extension, other LGBTI communities around the world). Transgender folk were dashing to get reconstructive surgeries before Trump’s administration could take away their freedoms. In 2010, the affordable healthcare act popularly known as Obamacare, made it illegal for insurers to turn away those with pre-exisiting conditions such as those who identify as transgender. Those who were broke, trans and living in conservative areas would finally have access to better healthcare. Eight years later, the gains made on behalf of transgender community will be lost as the Trump administration has repealed the healthcare act. Those who benefited from the cover through provision of affordable hormone correction drugs, therapy and surgeries are now left to their own devices. They are now more susceptible to  fake drugs and debt.

However, the repeal of Obamacare is merely a tip of the iceberg. The relationship between transgender community and healthcare providers has been fraught with conflict, dread and misunderstanding. 

Most transgender folks do not seek out healthcare for fear of being ridiculed and profiled. According to the National Center for transgender equality; 27,000 transgender people have had a negative experience with a doctor and a quarter of those who took part in the survey avoid going to the doctor altogether. 

There are medical practitioners who often ask intrusive questions via questionnaire. This causes anxiety that only adds to the patient’s stress. The questionnaire seems to imply that once completed the patient is more deserving or worthy of certain care once they jump through these hoops.

Healthcare practitioners need to have a thorough understanding of these life changing decisions and should even see themselves as guides for those who are transitioning, looking for answers and seeking medical help. One transgender man said he felt seen and validated when his doctor confirmed that indeed he was a man something he knew all along.

There’s need to continue fighting for proper healthcare for all transgender folk more so within our country.  Not only proper healthcare but also, affirming and humane healthcare that ensures transpeople feel protected and included.

To read more on the transgender fight for healthcare in America find the full article here

If you face any discrimination as a transgender person at any healthcare facility, please report via http://www.utunzi.com or send an SMS to 22069.

 

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THE FIGHT FOR HEALTH CARE

SAFETY TIPS FOR LGBTIQ

  • Holidays are a great time to reconnect and have fun in different areas. Whether you go shags, overseas or even within Nairobi, one needs to be extra careful. There’s a higher rate of robberies, murders,rapes and other alarming incidents around holiday time since we’re more carefree or absent minded.
  • If you travel, ensure you know whether your destination is LGBTIQ friendly. Some countries have outlawed homosexuality and are generally hostile. Read up on your destination before hand.
  • In areas that are conservative, you will need to be discreet about your affairs. This means no public displays of affection as these are considered offensive. Different laws and customs dictate different actions. Observe all the rules to stay out of trouble.
  • Be careful when meeting people( new or old) in different area codes, no matter how long you’ve been chatting or have been friends, you never know what could happen to you. Ensure you’re sober and consent to every single thing that happens to/ around you or your body.
  • Cons, cons, cons everywhere. Beware of con men during this season. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. You could be involved in blackmail case or have the authorities extort money from you in an entrapment con. Question everything.
  • Check hotel/booking terms and conditions. Some hotels don’t allow same sex couples to sleep together nor do others accept bookings from same sex customers. Always check and be sure.
  • Look out for LGBTIQ friendly travel deals where tours and expeditions are organized for the community or even organize one amongst yourselves with trusted members of your group.
SAFETY TIPS FOR LGBTIQ

5 Ways to Keep Sane This Holiday Season

May the spirit of Dezemba/Drinkscember/Drunksember be with you! I hope you’re letting loose and making merry where-ever you are. It’s a wonderful time to reconnect with loved ones and let off some steam especially with the year we have just  had. However, even with all the good cheer, holidays can be an extremely stressful time for LGBTIQ and MSM folk. With the pesky relatives and intrusive questions about ‘your lifestyle.’ It can be just that much more harder to catch a break and just relax.

 

Here’s a little list of things to help you stay sane over the holidays:

 

Don’t RSVP.

If you’re invited to a gathering or function, you seriously don’t feel great about going then don’t. You don’t have to attend. Maybe you’re not on talking terms, you didn’t like the crowd at the last gathering or haven’t visited your family since they kicked you out.  You don’t need to be at every single gathering. Opt out of it and seek out an environment you like instead.

 

Decompress.

Have some me- time to decompress. This me time is a great opportunity to re-evaluate goals and  reflect on where you are in life. You don’t have to be around people especially if it stresses you out. Take walks, create reminders around the house of your best attributes and really enjoy your company. How about making vision boards and gratitude lists over a nice beer on Christmas day?

 

Distractions.

If you do end up spending time with family, find neutral topics and games that will help bring you together without conflict. This will help decrease the likelihood of being offended by your kin.

 

Volunteer

Donate foodstuffs and your time to others. Spending time with others instead of being overindulgent or being in hostile environments can be a great alternative to the usual holiday traditions. Create this and other traditions with your fellow tribe.

 

Manage expectations

If for whatever reason, you get anxious over the holidays and agonize over what to wear, who to see and what to cook try lowering your expectations this year. Ask for some assistance from friends and family to ease the burden. No one’s perfect or getting out alive enjoy yourself while you can.

 

Support.

Holidays can be a rough time. One can feel sad for no reason or even hate holidays altogether. Holidays can also remind of us our inadequacies, we can feel like such trash. Fret not. Seek help from various toll numbers or support groups when the load seems to heavy. Find a friend or two to confide in and share the holiday with.

 

 

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas and a Happy new year!

 

5 Ways to Keep Sane This Holiday Season

Police Sensitization Success

for blog
I am a brother, I am a son and a friend to many and I am proud to be whom I am. It has taken me courage to come out of the closet about my sexuality but shocking enough it has made me go through the worst that life can offer but I have survived thanks to Nyarwek Network because they came to my rescue when no one else did. When my step mother came to know about my sexuality, she grew cold and kept me under house arrest from 2nd of May till 5th of June. During this time, I lost hope and was depressed because I felt as if no one loved me. I felt as if I needed peoples’ approval to be me. I will not lie I was so angry towards myself, the world and everyone else and to some point I even thought maybe death would not be a such bad thing. This is whom I am why can’t I be just accepted?

During the house arrest I was denied breakfast and lunch and the only meal that I got was dinner and somehow, I think it is because my prayers were being answered. Every evening I would receive a beating and this would leave my whole body aching. This affected me psychologically and made me wonder why all these things were happening to me. My health deteriorated very fast but no one seemed to care. I was denied medical attention. Sometimes I would manage to steal my mother’s phone and make a call for help but no one came to my rescue. Day in day out I hoped that someone somewhere would come to help. It was not until I remembered Nyarwek Network and looked for their number from one of my note books and when I got the opportunity I called and Nyarwek security personnel (Mr. Maureen Ochieng and Mr. Collins) came in to investigate. They found my health was terrible and we arranged to sneak out to a safe house for security purposes as relocation was being arranged.

I stayed at the safe house from  8th of June till 14th of the same month. For the first time in a long time I felt loved wanted and safe, finally I belonged. I was so excited when I was moved to the new location.

Later on, 15th of June my mother came to the safe house with claims that I was staying there with Maureen and she was accompanied by three police men. I called Nyarwek and KASH security response team. The police had already begun the house search by the time KASH team was arriving but were forced to stop when Nyarwek security officer arrived. She pointed out to the police that they had no search warrant hence it was illegal. The policemen, in fear, asked us to move to Kondele police post as they thought the lady from Nyarwek was police officer of a higher rank.

The case was dismissed at the police post since I had committed no crime. The officer in charge explained to mother that being an LGBTI is not a reason for an arrest. Despite this, she promised to seek revenge claiming that she lost the case because the response team came from donor funded organization, I later was informed that the police officers at the station were sensitized/trained on human rights by Nyarwek Network and how to handle LGBT issues.

On my way back to the safe house my mother gave me a call to apologize. I believe in forgiveness and I thought finally she wanted to reconcile with me. I was willing to put all that she had done behind me. I decided to go back home and no sooner had I reached the house than she locked me up again. I was not able to go to my planned destination. I felt betrayed by the world and I remember asking myself over and over again whether there was still any hope left for me.

That same night, at around 8 pm, some goons arrived at my home and attacked me. I assumed mother had sent them to teach me a lesson. I remember that night as if it was yesterday. I remember opening the door only to be met by a slap so hard that my face became numb. I remember feeling as though I had gone deaf on one side. I was kicked and pushed from the back and fell at the door. I remember debating on whether I should fight back or I should take flight. It was raining outside and I told myself its either now or never. I got up and I ran so fast without looking back. I went so fast am sure those who saw me thought a lion was hunting me down for dinner.

I got refuge in an old woman’s house where I asked her to assist me with her phone and called Nyarwek Network Executive Director Daniel Peter. When the phone was received I was out of breath, sacred and the rain was so heavy that the one on the receiving end could not hear me well so he asked to send a text message. Within a short period, I got a call from Maureen Ochieng, a security personnel in Nyarwek Network, asking to come for me and I agreed. After waiting for a while we heard a knock on the door, she had sent four men to come pick me up on her behalf. I was hesitant because at this point I had issues trusting people and when the old woman noticed this she refused and said I shall not leave until Maureen comes for me. We patiently waited for Maureen to come and when she did I left with them.

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Once again, I felt safe, loved and I belong. Wait I actually knew that I belong and I was proud to be whom I am. Forever I am and will always be thankful to ED Daniel of Nyarwek for his kindness, Maureen Ochieng from Security Nyarwek and Mr. Collins who is also from Nyarwek.

Nyarwek Network ensured I got two months house rent and deposit, upkeep and relocation fee. I now love my new home, I am now a happy and free soul and I know I belong.

Police Sensitization Success

Popularization and Training On How To Use UTUNZI Platform – Kisii/Rongo Region

NYARWEK Network through the support of HIVOS conducted an offline security management and online security reporting popularization exercise in Kisii/Rongo Region

and its environs.

This training is meant to popularize and teach people on how to use the utunzi platform.

Popularization and Training On How To Use UTUNZI Platform – Kisii/Rongo Region