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One of South Africa’s most effective transgender organisations received a financial boost on 2nd September through a LGBTI+ fundraising initiative in the Mother City.

Representatives from Gender Dynamix attended the last Conversations event at Gate69 on Bree Street in the CBD to take receipt of a cheque for R10,000.

Conversations, launched in October 2013, was a monthly networking and social event for LGBTI+ professionals living and working in and around Cape Town. Over four years, 48 highly successful events were held in upmarket hotels, bars and restaurants stretching from Newlands to Camps Bay.me

As well as facilitating face-to-face conversations between LGBTI+ professionals, be it for business or social networking purposes, Conversations was also socially responsible by raising money for and awareness of local charities. The money raised for Gender Dynamix partly came from the door charge paid by the attendees at the Conversations events from November 2016 – August 2017.

Gender Dynamix, founded in 2005 and based in Observatory, was the first African-based not-for-profit organisation to focus on the transgender community. Its vision today is to play a key role in realising the human rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people within and beyond the borders of South Africa.

Working within a human rights framework, Gender Dynamix supports transgender people to access and advocate for their rights; increases awareness and visibility of transgender people in South Africa and beyond; and promotes freedom of expression of gender identity, focusing on transgender, transsexual and other gender non-conforming people.

To achieve its aims, Gender Dynamix undertakes a wide range of activities which include Legal and Policy Reform Advocacy, Access to Gender Affirming Health Care Services in Training of Medical Professionals to deliver gender affirming healthcare services to their patients. The Regional Movement Building Advocacy works allows for collaborations of Trans Organisations within the SADC Region. Gender Dynamix Research Portfolio concentrates on Transgender Needs Assessments. The GDX general advocacy work focus on significant others, family, friends and colleagues of trans people with information and education; running programmes and self-empowering workshops for transgender people to build their self-esteem and assertiveness in society; undertaking outreach work in townships; lobbying government, civil society, national and international decision-makers and the media to combat prejudice against transgender people; and playing an integral role in transgender activism in South Africa, Africa and globally by participating in relevant human rights networks.

Andrew Howard, founder and director of Conversations, said: “As a Board member at the Pride Shelter Trust for three years, I became aware of the immense challenges and discrimination that transgender and gender non-conforming people face in their everyday lives, for example, when trying to access healthcare and finding work. I therefore chose Gender Dynamix as the fourth and final not-for-profit that Conversations in Cape Town would support because of the efforts they make to combat this discrimination.

I am absolutely delighted that we were able to raise this money that will help Gender Dynamix to continue its crucial work. I would also like to thank all those who attended the Conversations events during the fundraising period. Without their support for this great cause, this fundraising effort would not have been possible.”

Veronica Adriaanse, Programmes Manager at Gender Dynamix, said: “Gender Dynamix would like to thank Conversations for the generous donation. The donation will be used to further the work of the organisation in advancing the human rights of trans and gender non- conforming persons in the region. ……….”

The 48th Conversations event on 2nd September at Gate69 was sadly the last as Andrew Howard has had to return to the UK for family reasons and due to work issues in Cape Town. However, he plans to keep the Conversations Facebook pages in Cape Town and Johannesburg going by continuing to use them to promote both LGBTI+ organisations and causes and LGBTI+ owned and run businesses in South Africa. In the longer term, Andrew would like to return to Cape Town to resurrect the monthly events.

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