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.