Botswana: Court victory for transgender man a boost for LGBTI rights

On Friday, Justice Nthomiwa of the Lobatse High Court handed down judgment in a case that challenged the refusal of the Registrar of National Registration to change the gender marker on the man’s identity document.

The court found that the refusal was unreasonable and violated the man’s rights to dignity, privacy, freedom of expression, equal protection of the law, freedom from discrimination and freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment.

Justice Nthomiwa ordered the registrar to change the gender marker on the applicant’s identity document from ‘female’ to ‘male’ to protect his dignity and well-being. The court previously issued an order that the applicant’s names and personal details remain confidential.

Though he was assigned a female sex at birth, the applicant self-identifies as a man. He presented psychological and medical evidence to the effect that his innate gender identity is and has always been male and that the failure of the state to formally recognise his gender identity has caused him significant trauma.

“This is an immense relief,” said the applicant. “It has been difficult waiting for the matter to take its course through the courts, and I am hopeful that other persons who find themselves in a similar situation will be dealt with in a more respectful manner when they apply for new identity cards.” Read more via Mamba Online