While easy and dignified access to public healthcare for transgender people in South Africa remains a major public challenge, the Wits Reproductive Health Institute just took one step closer to help bridge the gap.
Described as the first transgender healthcare facility of its kind in the country, ENCA reports that the institute aims to “create a safe space” for transgender South Africans by “removing the stigma and prejudice” they often face while trying to access healthcare in the country.
Interviewed by ENCA, Tiny Williams, a local trans woman, said that in the past other public healthcare facilities treated her very badly.
“When I go there asking for treatment, some people would start gossiping about you, or laughing at you because of the way you are,” she recalls.
“Within five minutes of visiting Wits I am done with everything and there is no criticism about the way I am.”
According to Zsa-Zsa Fisher from the Wits Reproductive Health Institute, as a country, South Africa needs to address this issue, especially regarding the HIV/Aids pandemic.
“Transgender women are at 49% more risk of contracting HIV than any other population in the world.”