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Friday, March 17, 2017

After Chimamanda Adichie made a clarification about her comment towards transgender women more reaction followed suit.


Over the weekend there was quite an uproar following acclaimed Writer Chimamanda Adichie's interview with Channel 4 News. During the interview, the outspoken feminist when asked if a transgender woman was "any less of a real woman", she replied: "trans women are trans women."


Her statement was taken out of context and a lot of people attacked, one of whom was Nigerian-born Transgender, Miss Sahhara.


In an interview with BBC, Miss Sahhara who lives in the UK revealed the reason for her anger. She said that Chimamnda's statement undermines the trans community's fight for equality.

"We are fighting for equality and yet you say other women are not equal because you don't feel comfortable with who they are or who they used to be," She told BBC.

Though living abroad for the past 13 years, Miss Sahhara said she's been in close contact with the LGBT community in Africa. They keep in touch online which she said is the lifeline for the transgender community in Africa who are subjected to living in secret.

"I've had transgender women from South Africa get in touch with me and ask what hormones I recommend or women from Nigeria saying 'listen sister, a friend of mine has been locked up, can you raise awareness online?'."

"They communicate with me on my Facebook page, or secretly through private digital groups I refer them to," she told BBC.

However, not everyone in the LGBT community disagrees totally with Chimamanda's statement. Mike Daemon (not his real name) is one of such. Daemon runs an LGBT advocacy website called No Strings Nigeria and he said Adichie was being realistic in her statement and that trans women and biologically born women have "different journeys". He acknowledged that the issue Chimamanda had to speak on was indeed complex.

He also revealed to BBC Trending that the Transgender community have their secret online groups that help them cope with being trans in conservative Africa.

"Africa's transgender women rely on a secret digital life involving Whatsapp groups and closed Facebook groups," he said. "People are added through referrals and recommendations when they are trusted."

Meanwhile, Ms. Adichie has since clarified her statement and revealed it was misunderstood.

"I think the impulse to say that trans women are just like women born female comes from a need to make trans issues mainstream. Because by making them mainstream, we might reduce the many oppressions they experience. But it feels disingenuous to me. The intent is a good one but the strategy feels untrue. Diversity does not have to mean division," she wrote on her Facebook page.

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