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Botswana trans woman wins court battle to have gender legally recognized

Botswana trans woman wins court battle to have gender legally recognized

A trans woman in South African country Botswana has won the right to have her gender legally recognized.

Tshepo Ricki Kgositau has been battling the Botswana government. They refused to change the gender on her identity document to female.

She is the executive director of the South African organization who advocate for the rights of trans and gender-variant people, Gender Dynamix.

Botswana is in the center of South Africa.

Same-sex relations are illegal with a punishment of imprisonment.

Justice Leatile Dambe delivered the ruling.

They told the government they had to change Kgositau’s legal gender in a decision made on Tuesday (12/12).

Justice Dambe said: ‘The director of the National Registration is ordered to issue the applicant with a new Identity Card identifying her as a female within 21 days of this court order.’

Kgositau argued her gender should be legally changed as she has lived as a women since she was young. The incorrect gender on her identity document was causing her emotional distress and ‘increased her vulnerability to abuse and violence.’

Kgositau’s mother, siblings and relatives gave supporting evidence and have always ’embraced her and loved her as a woman.’

The application also had psychological and medical evidence explaining her ‘innate gender identity is, and has since an early age, always been female.’

The LGBT community see it as a major victory.

Gender markers

The Botswana High Court ordered the government in October to correct the gender marker on a trans man’s identity card. This change was to respect his constitutional rights.

Justice Godfrey Nthomiwa delivered that ruling.

They said the government had violated the plaintiff’s rights to dignity, privacy, freedom of expression, equality and freedom from discrimination and inhumane and degrading treatment.

Experts believe up to one percent of the world’s population is trans.

A judge overturned a government ban on a gay rights lobbying group in 2014.

This ruling allowing LGBT people in Botswana to register and campaign for changes to legislation.

The judge reaffirmed however that homosexual acts were still illegal.

Jua van Zyl is a trans woman who lives in South Africa.

She said while South Africa has ;one of the most progressive constitutions in the world protecting LGBTI people’, the hearts and minds of people are not as progressive.