Queer Warrior: Rikki Nathanson

@ricky_nathanson, Trans* Activist

Zimbabwean born Rikki Nathanson is a woman of many talents – certified accountant, political organizer, and nonprofit organization leader. Rikki is a trans activist celebrated for advancing the rights of trans and gender diverse persons, globally.

In 2014 Rikki was unlawfully arrested for using a public female restroom at a hotel in her home city of Bulawayo. The illegal arrest led to Rikki filing a civil lawsuit against the transphobic Zimbabwean government, a case which she won in late 2019. That landmark victory marked significant progress for trans rights in recent African history.

In September 2015, amidst persecution, Rikki went on to form Trans* Research, Education, Advocacy & Training [TREAT], which seeks to address the civil rights issues of the trans and gender diverse population of Zimbabwe in the areas of health, justice and the socio-economy.

In 2016, she became instrumental in the formation of the Southern Africa Trans Forum, that year, she also became a member of the Africa Key Populations Expert Group to the UNDP, and the Every Woman Everywhere Coalition.

This is one fierce Queer Warrior.

“Speak out. That is certainly one way that an individual–any individual–can stand up for the human rights of LGBTIQ people. We have many silent sympathizers, but the time has come for them to now stand up, be counted, speak out and be heard.”, says Rikki.

Rikki’s activism has come at a great loss to the continent, in fear of her life Rikki has now left her beloved Zimbabwe to exile in the United States’ Maryland. Despite having had to move across the world, this Queer warrior’s activism hasn’t been halted. In Maryland, she is part of the management team at Casa Ruby, which is led by transgender women of color, and is the only bilingual and multicultural LGBTQ organization in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area, providing social services and programs catering to the most vulnerable LGBTIQ people in the city and surrounding areas.

Words: Treyvone Moo

 

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