The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) community has bemoaned the challenges they are facing in registering to vote resulting in most of them avoiding the process to preserve dignity.
Trans Research Education Advocacy and Training (TREAT), an organization that deals with intersex and transgender persons said they face stigma and discrimination in public offices.
In an interview with 263Chat, TREAT Director, Sam Ndlovu said there is a lot of discrimination and stigma for those produce documents that do match their physical appearance.
“There are many challenges that the LGBTI community faces particularly with registering to vote especially with issues of gender identity, especially for those who have started their transition. If their documents don’t match their appearance and they find themselves explaining people respond in alarm and stigma because most people are not really used to seeing them.
“The other thing is to identify a candidate who doesn’t recognize you as human if already you are facing stigma in the community. It becomes hard to identify with someone who can see you as someone who contributes to the development of your community and be able to stand with them whilst you are facing discrimination,” said Ndlovu.
The queer community in Zimbabwe also questioned the professional capacity of public service workers to provide services for intersex and transpersons.
“Also the setup of these public offices, you find yourself trying to explain in front of crowds that you are in a process of transitioning and having to face all kinds of reactions, and that discouraging,” said Ndlovu.
He appealed to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to engage the LGBQTI so that they are able to access voter registration services.
“I think Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should engage both the community and the LGBTI so that everyone can access the registration process and register and be able to vote. It is not ZEC’s fault too that there is an information gap because they should be trained to accommodate everyone and on how to approach such cases,” he added.