HELEN SAVVA, Zsa Zsa Fisher, Denise Zambezi and Steve Letsike during the release of the report at Burgers Park Hotel on transpersons yesterday .     Jacques Naude  African News Agency(ANA)
HELEN SAVVA, Zsa Zsa Fisher, Denise Zambezi and Steve Letsike during the release of the report at Burgers Park Hotel on transpersons yesterday . Jacques Naude African News Agency(ANA)

Transwomen discrimination at Home Affairs

By RUDZANI MATSHILI Time of article published Jun 7, 2019

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Pretoria - More than 80% of transwomen in Gauteng have not applied for a gender-marker change on their identification documents due to lengthy waiting period associated with the process.

This was revealed during the launch of a report on transgender rights, titled Why We Matter, as part of the I Serve Equally Campaign.

The event was held at Burgers Park Hotel yesterday.

The report chronicles the experiences of transgender women with regards to accessing services from the Department of Health, Home Affairs and Education.

At least 54% of respondents came from Joburg, 26% from Tshwane and 20% from Ekurhuleni.

The report revealed that in addition to the waiting period of up to seven years, the transgender people needed to prove they had undergone gender reassignment surgery together with a letter from a specialist who performed the procedure.

However, the study showed that respondents who had applied for gender markers experienced discrimination from Home Affairs.

The report further revealed that 57% of the people had been physically assaulted due to their gender identity, while another 57% did not have support from their family members.

It was 38-year-old transwoman Catrecia Chiloane, from Mamelodi, who said it also took years to affirm her gender after surgery.

“I started in 2007 and finished in 2012. For me it was very easy because I started changing my name and then I changed my ID number, which took too long because they had to make sure that I didn’t have a criminal record or wasn’t running away from something,” she said.

Chiloane said she often did not reveal that she was a transgender to avoid discrimination.

While some of her family members learned to live with her decision, some had disowned her, she said.

Director at Access Chapter 2 Steve Letsike said society was not coping with transformation and how diverse people were.

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