Transgender discrimination is worse if you are poor

“I think I heard a voice and that voice told me that I still have a lot to live for‚” she said.

At the time‚ Chamane lived with her grandmother‚ for whom she cared until her gran died in 2015. The church refused to allow her to be part of the funeral programme.

“I had to ask the priest to give me 10 seconds to say goodbye to my grandmother. I was wearing a dress that day and looking feminine‚ and he was like‚ ‘oh‚ what do you want boy?’ So everyone was raising their eyebrows‚” she said.

In July 2017‚ Chamane started hormone treatment.

Transpeople can visit specialists at Groote Schuur Hospital‚ Cape Town‚ for its transgender service or go to private endocrine specialists. The transgender clinic consists of a team of people from different departments‚ including psychiatry‚ endocrine and plastic surgery.

Elma de Vries‚ a family physician who does training in gender-affirming health care for Gender DynamiX‚ said the transgender service at Groote Schuur has limited capacity.

Gender affirmation surgery for a transwoman is when the penis and testicles are removed and a vagina is built. For a transman‚ the uterus and ovaries are removed and a penis is built. De Vries said a plastic surgeon at Groote Schuur only performed gender affirmation surgery four days a year.

Trans sex-worker and activist Leigh Davids says the waiting time for gender affirmation surgery is over 25 years at Groote Schuur.

It is also expensive‚ with the fees for a surgeon and anaesthetist‚ the surgical theatre cost and several days hospital stay.

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