Botswana Rules In Favor Of Transgender Identity

A Transgender man in Botswana won the right to have "male" listed on identification forms.

The Lobatse High Court ruled on Friday. Saying to deny identification of the man's identity would oppose his "rights to dignity, privacy, freedom of expression, equal protection of the law, freedom from discrimination and freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment."

The case happened after the man was denied identification that aligned with his gender identity by the Registrar of National Registration. 

The man spoke to the Human Rights Watch on anonymity and said, "I am overjoyed and humbled at the same time,” he told the international civil rights group, “to have finally found the legal relief I have sought for the past seven years of my life.”"

The decision was lauded by LGBT rights groups in the area. The decision has the potential to help gain momentum for more equality and rights for transgender people in Botswana.

While the predominantly Christian nation still outlaws homosexuality, it has made some progressive steps since 2014 that allow groups to lobby for LGBT rights. Identifying as LGBT is not illegal, but the act of homosexuality carries a sentence of 7 years. LGBT still face immense challenges as Botswana has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS. It is also still legal to fire someone for being Transgender.



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