BREAKING NEWS – The International AIDS Society (IAS) has given to Outrage Magazine its response to an issue besetting trans community members here at the International AIDS Conference 2016 in Durban, South Africa.
Earlier, in reports reaching Outrage Magazine, trans people were not allowed to use their preferred names, but were forced to use their “legal names”. Security risks were cited as the reason for this. Trans leaders were also critical of the number of scholarships given to trans people, with only 27 offered to some 1,000 applicants.
According to Mandy Sugrue, senior manager for communications at IAS: “The IAS acknowledges the barriers that trans people continue to encounter daily, enduring stigma and phobia leading to denial of basic services. We remain committed to supporting the trans community in the fight for equal rights and ensuring the International AIDS Conference is a welcoming, open space for trans delegates. To that end, the IAS worked with South African State Security, in advance of the conference, to ensure the flexibilities that we allow as part of our registration process (that trans delegates can choose how they will be identified on their badges) would be preserved through the accreditation process run by the national government.”
Sugrue added that “the moment we learned that was not happening, we called a meeting with our counterparts in the government to address the issue. They assured us that they would correct their process and sensitize their staff.”
IAS promised that it will continue “to monitor this to ensure compliance and ask any trans delegate to bring any matter that affects their safety or wellbeing at this conference to our attention as quickly as possible.”
No comment was received on the scholarship issue as of press time.