High Court OKs gender change on Botswana IDs

The High Court in Botswana ruled on Sept. 29 that a transgender man should be allowed to hold official documents that reflect his gender identity, no matter which sex was assigned to him at birth. “The judgment is a huge victory for transgender people in Botswana, who face considerable challenges when their gender identity is not reflected in official papers,” Human Rights Watch stated.

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre and Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa issued a press release that stated in part:

Botswana High Court Rules in Landmark Gender Identity Case

Southern Africa Litigation Center…  The Court held that the refusal to change the applicant’s gender marker was unreasonable and violated his rights to dignity, privacy, freedom of expression, equal protection of the law, freedom from discrimination and freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment.

The Court ordered the respondents to change the gender marker on the applicant’s identity document (Omang) from ‘female’ to ‘male’ to protect his dignity and well-being.

The Court previously issued an order that the applicant’s names and personal details remain confidential.

The applicant was represented by Tshiamo Rantao and Lesego Nchunga and supported by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa. …

“This is a monumental victory for the rights of transgender persons in the region. The judge’s finding that the refusal to change a transgender person’s identity documents violates constitutional rights, goes a long way in improving the lives of transgender persons”, says Tashwill Esterhuizen, LGBT and Sex Worker Rights Programme Lawyer at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. …

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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