South Africa Moves to Introduce Gender-Neutral Identification

South Africa’s government has committed to offering a third gender option on national identity documents to better “accommodate” non-binary people.

The proposal is a gender-neutral ID number that does not highlight someone as male or female. LGBTQI community welcomes new proposed non-gender marker.

In a first for a nation in Africa, South Africa is promising to recognize different gender identities and accept a third gender option on national identity documents.

Busiswe Deyi of the Commission for Gender Equality explained that “as the CGE, we are very excited about the proposal by the Department of Home Affairs. We hope that Home Affairs will take the progressive step to include gender-neutral across the board for an opt system. So, you can opt into a particular gender recognition and marker whether male or female. “

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The lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and or intersex community say this move by South Africa is overdue.

“South Africa has always been a leader in that regard. Even when you look at the LGBTI rights in the country, we have been pretty ahead of the curve most of the time.”

Gender rights experts have highlighted that problems of not being unable to change a gender marker bring out difficulties in activities such as opening a bank account.

“We have to ask why we need gender on our documents. What purpose does it really serve to have a gender marker on your ID? So, part of the problem of not being able to change a gender marker, as you can imagine, relates to opening a bank account, applying for a job and just a whole range of things like your driver’s license. “, says Jabulani Pereira, Iranti Director

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The Department of Home Affairs document on identity management states that South Africa has an estimated five hundred and thirty thousand South Africans who identify as non-binary.


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