Press Release: Kgositau vs Attorney General of Botswana and Registrar of National Registration

Press Release

To: All Media Houses

From: Lesbians, Gays and Bisexual of Botswana – LEGABIBO

Date: 12 December 2017

RE: Kgositau vs Attorney General of Botswana and Registrar of National Registration

The Botswana High Court today, 12 December 2017, made a ruling on the application challenging the refusal of the Registrar of National Registration to change the gender marker on the identity document of a transgender woman, Miss Tshepo Ricki Kgositau. The matter was heard before Judge Dambe who ordered that:

  1. The Registrar of Births and Deaths amend the birth certificate of Miss Kgositau to show that she is female and not male within 7 seven days.
  2. The Director of the Registrar of National Registration issue an Identity Document (Omang) identifying her as female within 21 days.

LEGABIBO acknowledges and congratulates the High Court’s ruling. This ruling once again sets the tone for the rights of transgender people in Botswana and beyond. It highlights the protection of “all persons” in Botswana and recognizes that the transgender community indeed form part of the diverse and rich nation of Botswana. This is ruling is a great progression of human rights in Botswana and speaking immense volumes of how the courts are reacting towards the LGBT community and how the rights of the minority groups are upheld.

In another progressive step, in September 2017, the High Court of Botswana 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.”

Note: ‘Gender identity’ refers to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms. This is different from ‘sexual orientation’ which refers to each person’s capacity for profound emotional, affectional and sexual attraction to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different gender or the same gender or more than one gender.

‘Transgender’ refers to an individual whose gender identity does not match their birth assigned gender. This consequently means that a transgender person’s legal identification documents misrepresent the gender identity and gender expression of the individual since they reflect the biological sex assigned to them at birth – regardless of whether or not this is the felt/innate gender identity of the individual.

 

“All the best Miss Kgositau” – Botswana High Court Judge Dambe

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