NEWS RELEASE FROM THE SOUTHERN AFRICA LITIGATION CENTRE
Botswana Registrar Agrees to Change Gender Marker from Female to Male
Botswana, 5 December 2017
On 4 December 2017, the Registrar of National Registration of Botswana in the case of ND v Attorney General of Botswana and others agreed to issue the applicant with a new identity document that reflects his male gender identity on or before Monday, 18 December 2017.
Previously on 29 September 2017, the High Court of Botswana, per Justice Nthomiwa Nthomiwa handed down judgment in which the Court ordered the Registrar to change ND’s gender marker on the identity document from female to male.
The Court acknowledged that the non-recognition of gender identity exposes transgender persons to wide-spread discrimination, stigma and harassment. Judge Nthomiwa Nthomiwa observed: “Recognition of the applicant’s gender identity lies at the heart of his fundamental right to dignity. Gender identity constitutes the core of one’s sense of being and is an integral of a person’s identity. Legal recognition of the applicant’s gender identity is therefore part of the right to dignity and freedom to express himself in a manner he feels …comfortable with.”
“Closure has never felt this sweet” says the applicant. “To live years in a mistaken identity is beyond the unthinkable. I am excited to finally move on with my life. I hope that many others in my position would have a similar opportunity to live their life with dignity.”
A prominent transgender activist, Ricki Kgositau, has brought a similar case on the legal recognition of her gender identity. This victory is likely to set a precedent when she is returning to the Gaborone High Court on 12 December 2017 to also have the gender marker on her identity document changed.
The Court in ND’s case previously issued an order that the applicant’s names and personal details remain confidential.
Tshiamo Rantao, the applicant’s lawyer
Tashwill Esterhuizen, Southern Africa Litigation Centre