Sunday, March 20, 2011

Transgender life facts about Libya

I'm Saleemah. I was a columnist for Huriyah until we shut down last year. I usually would write about the Transgender community. Today, I'm writing about Transgender community in Libya. As I watch the news here in France and see my country bombing that country, I reflect on my memories of that Transgender community.

It's a very small community, as elsewhere in Muslim Africa, because most choose to leave their countries (as I did) for a better future. When I came to Paris many years ago, I spent some months in Libya. Many of us from the sub-Saharan Africa spend some time in North Africa before we finally make our way to France. I had met a nice transwoman in Libya and it made all the difference for me. She was kind, and really helped to feel at home at her home as well as in her country.

I learned immediately that Libya is a very different country from the rest of Africa. In fact, Libya has the highest Human Development Index (HDI) in Africa. Really this is something you can feel everywhere in Libya. Their currency rate is high (€1 is 1.75 Libyan dirham). Their education is really high. It is has the highest literacy rate in North Africa, and the schools are compulsory until secondary level. This guarantees the average Libyan the basic tools to participate in the world.

Yes, Libya is a Muslim country and they do have prejudices against sexual and gender minorities. But I thought the Libyan way of life was excellent, and when your way of life is excellent you have the room for all of your citizens.

I pray and hope a new Libya will be as proactive about the basic Libyan life as the Libyan government which the West would rather have leave.