As Tanzania's LGBT fear for their lives, HIV will thrive
Updated 3:43 AM ET, Sat December 1, 2018
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(CNN)In one day, everything changed.
One day, she could walk down the street like anyone else. People still stared and often judged but in their own minds -- not out loud.
But before she knew it, she was dodging abuse and stones thrown at her by strangers, as well as familiar faces.
"Since the announcement was made, things got worse," said the 23-year-old trans woman from Tanzania, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear for her safety.
She was called derogatory names for being trans and one night was slapped by two men who had been following her, but she managed to run home fast enough to prevent further abuse, she says.
"The feeling is unexplainable," she said. She began questioning the world, her life and who she was. "You start thinking, 'what species am I? Where do I belong?' "
The announcement that she says changed her life was made by powerful politician Paul Makonda, regional governor of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's largest city. At the end of October, he vowed to set up a task force to round up and arrest people suspected of being gay.