A right to legal gender recognition for transgender children in South Africa

Barnes, Johndre (2020-03)

Thesis (LLM)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The term gender identity can be defined as referring to each person’s deeply felt internal experience of their gender, which may or may not correspond to the sex documented at birth. The mismatch between gender identity and identification documents has an impact on the abilities and experiences of transgender children. It may cause transgender children to experience discrimination, marginalisation, abuse and degradation, which may adversely affect their rights to human dignity, equality, freedom and the best interests of the child as guaranteed under the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. Legal gender recognition refers to the official recognition of a person’s gender identity in key documents and public registries. In South Africa, the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act 49 of 2003 provides for legal gender recognition procedures. However, the Act requires that certain medical preconditions have to be met in order to access legal gender recognition, which, in turn, excludes transgender children, who do not want to or cannot follow the requirements set by the Act in order to alter their gender legally. This thesis seeks to analyse the duties placed on the South African government in terms of international law, regional law and the national legal framework, while also comparing the South African position to the position in foreign jurisdictions, in order to establish whether the right to legal gender recognition should be accessible to transgender children. Furthermore, the objective of this thesis is to show that the limitations placed on transgender children to access legal gender recognition is not reasonable and justifiable in an open democratic society based on human dignity, equality, freedom for all and is not in the best interests of transgender children. Therefore, this thesis will also provide recommendations as to how the process of access to legal gender recognition for transgender children should be realised and implemented in terms of the South African legal framework.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die term geslagsidentiteit kan gedefinieer word as elke persoon se innerlike gevoel en ervaring van hul geslag, wat óf ooreenstem met die geslag wat by geboorte gedokumenteer is, of glad nie daarmee ooreenstem nie. Die wanverhouding tussen geslagsidentiteit en identifikasiedokumente kan die vermoëns en ervaringe van transgender kinders affekteer. Dit kan transgender kinders blootstel aan diskriminasie, marginalisering, mishandeling en vernedering, wat die regte op menswaardigheid, gelykheid, vryheid en die beste belange van die kind skend, soos gewaarborg onder die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika, 1996. Wettige geslagsherkenning verwys na die amptelike erkenning van 'n persoon se geslagsidentiteit in sleuteldokumente en openbare registers. In Suid-Afrika maak die Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act 49 van 2003 voorsiening vir prosedures vir wettige geslagsherkenning. Die Wet bepaal egter dat daar aan sekere mediese voorwaardes voldoen moet word ten einde toegang tot wettige geslagsherkenning te verkry, wat gevolglik transgender kinders uitsluit om hul geslag wettig te verander weens hul onvermoë om aan die Wet se vereistes te voldoen of selfs as gevolg van die feit dat hulle dit nie wil volg nie. Hierdie tesis poog om die pligte van die Suid-Afrikaanse regering, soos uiteengesit in terme van die internasionale reg, streeksreg en die nasionale wetlike raamwerk, te ontleed, asook om die Suid-Afrikaanse posisie te vergelyk met ander buitelandse jurisdiksies, ten einde vas te stel of die reg op wettige geslagsherkenning toeganklik moet wees vir transgender kinders. Verder is die doel van hierdie tesis om aan te toon dat die beperking wat op transgender kinders geplaas word om toegang te kry tot wettige geslagsherkenning, nie redelik en regverdigbaar is in 'n oop en demokratiese samelewing wat gebaseer is op menswaardigheid, gelykheid, vryheid vir almal nie, asook weens die feit dat dit ook nie in die beste belang van transgender kinders is nie. Daarom sal hierdie tesis ook aanbevelings verskaf oor hoe die proses van toegang tot wettige geslagsherkenning vir transgender kinders, ingevolge die Suid-Afrikaanse wetlike raamwerk, moet realiseer en geïmplementeer word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107803
This item appears in the following collections: