Transgender couples take Home Affairs to court to change sex status

Transgender woman allegedly thrown out of Johannesburg shelter

Gay-rights advocate challenges Trinidad &Tobago’s homosexuality laws



Transgender couples take Home Affairs to court to change sex status


Three transgender women and their spouses have taken the Department of Home Affairs to court to force it to change their sex description, the Legal Resources Centre said on Thursday.


The centre, which is representing the couples, had launched an application in the Western Cape High Court, seeking to compel the department to amend their sex description on the national population register and on their birth certificates, and issue them with new identity numbers.


South Africans can legally change their sexual identity through the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act 49 of 2003.


The centre said the department however argued that the existing civil marriages of the couples, which are heterosexual, precluded the department from amending the sex descriptor as it would amount to recognition of a same-sex marriage under the Marriages Act.


The couples are all married in terms of the Marriages Act 25 of 1961 and South African law makes no provision for the status of marriages to be changed between the Marriages Act and the Civil Unions Act.


Transgender woman allegedly thrown out of Johannesburg shelter


A transgender woman, who was the victim of sexual violence, has allegedly been thrown out onto the streets by a women’s shelter in Johannesburg, apparently because of her gender identity.


According to queer human right group Iranti-Org, the woman said she overheard staff members at the IKhaya Le Themba Braamfontein shelter discussing whether or not to allow her to stay as a transgender woman.


On 7 February, the woman reached out to Iranti-Org after being instructed to leave. She was provided with no safe alternative accommodation within the Johannesburg area, claims the organisation.


Iranti-Org called for the provision of accommodation and shelter that respects the identity of transgender and gender diverse victims, as well as a revision of South Africa’s policy on shelters, noting that it currently makes no mention or concession toward transgender or gender-diverse persons.


Gay-rights advocate challenges Trinidad &Tobago’s homosexuality laws


Trinidad-born UK-based gay rights advocate Jason Jones has mounted a legal challenge against the State, seeking to have existing laws criminalising homosexuality declared null and void.


Jones and his attorneys filed the challenge in the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain on Thursday.


Speaking with reporters, Jones said Trinidad and Tobago continues to have laws criminalising same-sex relationships and preventing homosexual people from entering the country freely.


He said this violated basic human rights.




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