Cleopatra Kambugu, a Ugandan activist who advocates for sexual and gender minorities, has made history as the first transgender person in Uganda to have their new gender recognised by the government. Kambugu has received her new passport and government-issued photo ID card, which identifies her as female. The process of getting official ID recognising her as female was a “difficult” and “intrusive” process, and is a milestone for the African nation, where the LGBTQIA community is heavily  maligned and marginalised. “Everything my country does is surprising. Even now, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Kambugu. Kambugu celebrated the milestone, posting on Instagram, “Today it is  monumental that my country chose to register me as a woman recognising me as a transgender woman not some deluded ‘boy’. My prayer is two fold, that this win will be a win for other trans Ugandans and that one day it should not be special for a trans person to be recognized by her country. I made it,  we made it.” Kambugu, 35, is the Director of Programmes for Uhai Eashri, “Africa’s first indigenous activist fund supporting the human rights of sex workers and sexual and gender minorities,” which operates across seven African nations. Kambugu, speaking on the phone with the Star Observer from her home in  Kampala, said the offical recognition of her gender is important because the transgender community in Uganda does not have equal access to many aspects of day-to-day life, including health care, travel and education.

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