Rwanda: LGBT rights are protected on paper, but discrimination and homophobia persist.


“From today, I no longer want to be called your mother, if you don’t want to change you can leave my house and come back when you are a transformed person, when you are a man.” Chris (not his real name) a queer transgender person from Rwanda recalls the words of their angry mother. That was the last time Chris interacted with their mother. She chased Chris away and, from then on, they had to fend for themself. Not only was Chris rejected by family but also by religious leaders in different churches. Chris, a talented musician, sought refuge in the church where they were given a chance to train in worship but as soon as they realised Chris’ gender identity, they were excommunicated by the church. “I faced discrimination when accessing medical care and I no longer enjoyed the family medical scheme benefits that I had access to before my mother withdrew them. Each time I went to the hospital and explained to the doctors the pain I was in since I had contracted an anal rectal sexually transmitted infection, they were judgemental. This was very stressful, I went into depression and contemplated suicide. To add to this, I started abusing drugs,” Chris told me.

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