Transgender activist stripped naked by police

Ricky Nathanson

Ricky Nathanson humiliated in police strip search

By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
30 January 2014

A transgender activist says she felt violated when six police officers stripped her naked after she was arrested for using a female toilet.

Bulawayo-based businessperson, Ricky Nathanson, was two weeks ago ‘arrested’ by ZANU PF youths at the city’s Palace Hotel after they saw her entering the women’s toilet.

The youths, led by Farai Mteliso, later handed Ricky over to the police who are charging her with criminal nuisance. She is due in court on February 4th.

Ricky however told SW Radio Africa that trouble started when the ZANU PF youths tried and failed to extort money from her.

“I was having a business meeting at the hotel’s gardens when some drunk ZANU PF youth league members asked me to give them money because they said they do not like what I do.

“I asked them what it was exactly that I had done but they were evasive. They arrested me and called the police after I refused to give them the money,” Ricky said.

Speaking on this Thursday’s Big Picture programme, Ricky said anti-riot police in two vans seized her and at the station, six male officers ordered her to strip naked while they confirmed her gender.

“It was the worst day of my life. They were laughing and jeering and they did not even have a search warrant. I felt violated and humiliated.”

Ricky, who runs a modeling agency in the city, said her business has suffered since the incident two weeks ago.

“Most of my students at the agency have pulled out and I can no longer move around the city, where I have to do most of my business, without being mobbed and jeered at.”

Ricky says two doctors confirmed to the police that although he is biologically male his hormonal, chromosomal, psychological and physiological make up is that of a female.

Sexual rights lobbyist Mojalifa Mokwele criticised the media for its sensational and homophobic coverage of Nathanson’s case.

“The media in Zimbabwe have never bothered to ask Ricky for her side of the story or even dug deeper to highlight the violation of Ricky’s rights by the police,” Mokwele said Thursday.

“There is a lot of ignorance and bias on sexual rights issues in Zimbabwe and this is fuelled by the media and politicians,” he added.

You can hear the full discussion with Ricky and Mokwele on tonight’s Big Picture Programme.

3 Responsesto “Transgender activist stripped naked by police”

  1. Dean_of_Sadza says:

    Zimbabwe is going back to the stone age!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Dana Ashleigh Goodyear says:

    How sad. This is an inhumane way to treat anyone, especially a woman. Yet another story of a trans* woman having her rights violated, tampeled over, and stampeded. They treat our brothers and sisters as subhuman in sooo many countries…pathetic, this angers my spirit. Lol so what would they have done if she had srs??? Disclaimer as im sure sone troll would try to make a point here: I do not denote anything about having or not having srs as a deciding factor on gender, nor do I denote that it matters. I am just curious how they woukd have approached this with therir bias? Theyd have looked like damn fools more then already. Wtf.

  3. Chimbwido Warvetj says:

    May be they wanted to uncover what lay behind the secret veil by looking/unveiling that which was between the legs to satisfy their curiosity. If you see a bearded individual puting on a nice dress going into the women’s toilet, you are bound to be curious and make an effort to find out.

    They do that all the time in the United States when people are arrested and locked up in prison cells without being prosecuted and sentenced to a jail term. Women are stripped naked before they go for incarceration only to establish if they have weapons of mass destruction they could bring to the cells. This process is also carried out on males who are arrested even on flimsy grounds. You only need to listen to the Guantanamo prisoners who were arrested in Iraq on flimsy grounds and were incarcerated at Guantanamo Maximum Prisonk for many years without trial and the horrific treatment they suffered at the hands of their captors but only to discover after 10 years in prison that no crime had been committed. It is scaring to spent 10 years in prison without trial but only to discover that no crime had been committed. And how about the capital punishment on prisoners get executed but discover when the prisoner is already dead that he was after all innocent? It is traumatic and horrific to contemplate that innocent prisoners have been executed in the United States on false grounds.

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