Carl Collison of Mail & Guardian shares the story of Siya Hlongwa – a 32-year-old transgender woman experiencing street homelessness in Johannesburg, South Africa (S.A.). Like Siya, many transgender women and men in S.A. are forced to flee their homes due to rejection, sometimes accompanied by the threat of violence, from their families, then struggle to find stable accommodation due to discrimination. In Siya’s case, she found temporary housing in a shelter for women and children of domestic violence, but was forced to leave once the shelter learned of her gender identity. According to Joshua Sehoole of Iranti – an organization that advocates for transgender and intersex rights – there are a multitude of factors that make transgender women and men vulnerable to homelessness, such as the lack of trans-friendly accommodation. Agencies and facilities like Iranti and Ithemba Lam safe house in Thambo Village township are working to help transgender-women and men in S.A. and hope to expand their capacity to offer a safe space to a greater number of people.
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