Lobatse High Court in Botswana today ruled that a transgender man gender marker on his identity document be changed from female to male.
Justice Nthomiwa 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 man’s lawyer said in a statement.
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 ruled 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 an immense relief,” says the applicant in a statement. “It has been difficult waiting for the matter to take its course through the courts, and I am hopeful that other persons who find themselves in a similar situation will be dealt with in a more respectful manner when they apply for new identity cards.”
“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.
“It has been a difficult journey but we are elated with the outcome. The impact of this case should not be underestimated. If properly implemented, it has the potential to positively change the lives of transgender persons” says Ian Southey-Swartz, LGBTI Programme Manager at the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa. – ANN7 reporter