Press Release: Botswana High Court Rules in Landmark Gender Identity Case

29 September 2017, Gaborone, Botswana

On Friday 29 September 2017, the Lobatse High Court, per Justice Nthomiwa handed down judgment in a case which challenged the refusal of the Registrar of National Registration to change the gender marker on the identity document of a transgender man.

The Court held that the refusal to change the applicant’s gender marker was unreasonable and violated his rights to dignity, privacy, freedom of expression, equal protection of the law, freedom from discrimination and freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment.

The Court ordered the respondents to change the gender marker on the applicant’s identity document (Omang) 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. The applicant was represented by Tshiamo Rantao and Lesego Nchunga and supported by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa.

“This is an immense relief” says 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.”

“This is a monumental victory for the rights of transgender persons in the region. The judge’s finding that the refusal to change a transgender person’s identity documents violates constitutional rights, goes a long way in improving the lives of transgender persons”, says Tashwill Esterhuizen, LGBT and Sex Worker Rights Programme Lawyer at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.

“It has been a difficult journey but we are elated with the outcome. The impact of this case should not be underestimated. If properly implemented, it has the potential to positively change the lives of transgender persons” says Ian Southey-Swartz, LGBTI Programme Manager at the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa.

Background to case

The applicant is a transgender man. Though he was assigned a female sex at birth, he self-identifies as a man. The applicant 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. The applicant submitted that his identity document should reflect his gender identity, which only became apparent after his birth. The applicant further submitted that the National Registration Act allows the Registrar to change any particulars of a registered person and to issue that person with a new identity card if there has been a material change to their circumstances.

For more information contact:

Tshiamo Rantao, the applicant’s lawyer

E-mail: tshiamo@rantaokewagamang.co.bw

Tashwill Esterhuizen, Southern Africa Litigation Centre

Email: tashwille@salc.org.za

Issued by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa

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VACANCY: FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION MANAGER

VACANCY: FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION MANAGER

25 August 2017

Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) is a registered Non-governmental, non-profit organization established in 1998 and registered in April 2016. LEGABIBO advocates and promotes the human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex persons. As a newly registered small organization, LEGABIBO is looking to recruit a Finance and Administration Manager.

Job Summary

To manage the organizations’ financial affairs, longer-term financial projections and ensuring that the most efficient and effective financial control systems and reporting mechanisms are in place.

Requirements

Qualifications: Accounting and finance qualifications and post qualification experience within the NGO and non-profit field.

Experience: At least 5 years experience in a Managing role with 2 years experience with NGO and non-profit field.

Competencies

  • Planning, Budgeting, resource mobilization
  • Human Resource management
  • Communication, negotiation and relationship building skills.
  • Knowledge of global financial standards and accounting packages
  • Multi-tasking, prioritization, ethical, integrity, credibility, and dedication to the mission and vision of LEGABIBO

To apply forward you CV, covering letter with names and contact details of 2 referees to: The LEGABIBO CEO, ceo@legabibo.org +267 3167425

Closing date 7th September 2017

Download PDF here

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Pan Africa ILGA announces LEGABIBO as co-host of Pan Africa ILGA Regional Conference 2018 and unveils Conference theme.

PRESS RELEASE: Pan Africa ILGA announces LEGABIBO as co-host of Pan Africa ILGA Regional Conference 2018 and unveils Conference theme.

Pan Africa ILGA (PAI) is proud to announce the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) as the official co-host and partner of the 4th Pan Africa ILGA Regional Conference 2018.

As a registered member and long standing partner of PAI, LEGABIBO’s work in Botswana and their contribution to change the socio-legal discourse for LGBTI persons across the continent speaks for itself. The organization has achieved significant strides over the years, making it one of the most recognizable organisations in Southern African region. In recognition of this tremendous growth and capability, LEGABIBO stands out as eligible co-host of the PAI Regional Conference 2018, having had the majority vote during the PAI Regional Conference 2016 in Johannesburg South Africa.

The PAI conference will host over 200 delegates from across Africa and the world. It will be an opportunity for the world to see how Botswana is quickly becoming a progressive nation and an example in Africa and the world where LGBTI human rights are concerned. It is also a chance for the LGBTI community, the key population coalition and partner organisations to be in the forefront, leading and showcasing best practices in the protection and promotion of LGBTI human rights. Additionally, the conference will be a major boost for Botswana’s tourism industry and contribute to the blossoming economy as well as show-case the best of our diverse culture.

The regional conference will be held from 31 May 2018 – 5 June 2018, under the theme Empowering LGBTI Youth: Uniting for an Inclusive Future. The conference seeks to stimulate discussions toward empowerment, utilisation and the capacity of LGBTI youth, engaging on common regional strategies to achieve change in policies discriminating people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, exchanging best practices, sharing successes and opportunities for effective advocacy on the continent as well as receiving advocacy training on relevant regional and international human rights mechanisms, while acquiring tools to strengthen PAI in fulfilling its role as a regional LGBTI membership organization.

PAI and LEGABIBO look forward to successfully hosting the 4th Pan Africa ILGA Regional Conference, and continued support of member organisations, partners, donors, and activists across the globe.

For press comments and inquiries contact:
Kumkani Sivu Siwisa
Pan Africa ILGA Communications & Membership Officer
Sivu.Siwisa@panafricailga.org
+27 76 617 8012
www.panafricailga.org

Bradley Fortuin
LEGABIBO Communications & Documentation Officer
info@legabibo.org
+267 316 74 25

BOTSWANA HIGH COURT TO HEAR LANDMARK GENDER IDENTITY CASE

2 August 2017,

Gaborone, Botswana

On Friday 4 August 2017, the Botswana High Court will hear an application challenging the refusal of the Registrar of National Registration to change the gender marker on the identity document of a transgender woman.

The applicant submits that the refusal to change her gender marker violated her rights to dignity, privacy, freedom of expression, equal protection of the law, freedom from discrimination and freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment.

The High Court has to consider whether the respondents’ refusal to issue the applicant with a new identity document that correctly reflects her gender identity as ‘female’ constitutes a violation of her constitutional rights; and whether the respondents’ justification for the limitation of the applicant’s constitutional rights is reasonable and justifiable.

The case will be heard before Judge Dambe. The applicant, Tshepo Ricki Kgositau, is represented by Lesego Nchunga of Nchunga & Associates, with the support of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. Ricki Kgositau comes from an International Relations background with years of experience as an advocate for transgender persons human rights. She is the Executive Director of Gender DynamiX, a regional transgender focused organisation based in Cape Town-South Africa advocating for inclusive policies and laws for transgender persons in over 12 Southern African countries.

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What: Hearing of Kgositau v Attorney General and Registrar of National Registration

Where: High Court in Gaborone, Botswana

When: 4 August 2017

 

For more information contact:

Lesego Nchunga                                                                      Ricki Kgositau

Email: misslesegonchunga@gmail.com                              Email: trkgositau@gmail.com/

director@genderdynamix.org.za

 

Anneke Meerkotter

Email: annekem@salc.org.za

The hearing can be followed on Twitter: @legabiboadvo @follow_SALC, @genderdynamix and @rickikgositau OR on Facebook @ Tshepo Ricki Kgositau, @ Lesego Nswahu Nchunga and @LeGaBiBo

Feel free to use the following hashtags to follow and/or advance the conversation on various social media platforms: #TransRightsAreHumanRights #TransLivesMatter #TransRightsNow #JusticeForRicki #TransLivesMatterBW

An Open Letter to Daniel Kenosi

Dear Daniel Kenosi,

LEGABIBO and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community have noted with great concern your Facebook posts on LGBTI individuals dating as far back as 2013. We note about 11 Facebook posts that either out, blame, defame or bash LGBTI persons. The language in all these posts is harsh, abusive, derogatory, demeaning and mocking.

You have labelled the LGBTI persons as ‘digole’; deserving of rape and deserving of being bashed. You have also unashamedly and repeatedly outed transgender persons; calling them fake women and men.

You have also invaded the privacy of individuals by making public their most private and intimate pictures for all to see, and making it seem like LGBTI private lives and intimate moments are something to be disgusted about and frowned upon.

You have made yourself a messenger who exposes LGBTI people, a messenger who teaches the public that LGBTI are a disgrace, have no morals and should be shunned and rejected by the society. As the self-appointed educator of the general public on LGBTI issues, you have spread the wrong message that being gay is a life style, a fashion trend and a nasty habit.

You have also appointed yourself an expert of the legal context on LGBTI issues in Botswana, where you claim that; 1. homosexuality is illegal, 2. homosexuals are imprisoned, 3. homosexuals are deported, thereby depicting Botswana’s legal environment as harsh, unfriendly and intolerant.

You have taken advantage of our silence all these years and probably saw this as an acceptance of your malicious and sensationalized propaganda. This letter is intended to communicate to you that we are not amused by your unethical news reporting.

Firstly, you should know that these individuals that you are outing have families, so you may be having your little fun by outing them and entertaining your followers. But you should know Daniel Kenosi, you are hurting families, you are breaking homes. The impact on these individuals is rejection and being kicked out their homes – and it is all on you!

Secondly, putting people’s pictures in compromising intimate positions has lasting negative impact on their professional and social lives. Gay people too have jobs and professional lives to maintain, and publicizing their images on Facebook in their private moments is drawing attention away from their capabilities in the workplace. That Daniel Kenosi is outright malicious and crude.

Thirdly, the Constitution of Botswana protects ALL persons against discrimination, torture and inhuman treatment. So you saying that homosexuals are imprisoned is a fallacy. What this means is that you are feeding the public false information and twisting the information to serve your own wicked cause.  If you really want to contribute to the right to information for the general public, the correct information to tell your followers is that homosexuality in Botswana is not illegal. That Daniel Kenosi is being patriotic!

Fourthly, a public educator gets their facts right first before imparting information, we suggest that you get your facts right about transgender persons, get your facts rights about the legal environment in relation to LGBTI, get your facts right about the number of men who have with men (MSM) in Botswana.

In conclusion, we realize that you do not abide by the journalists’ code of ethics, you do not respect the institution of marriage, you are feeding on the vulnerability of the general community, you do not care about the impact that your homophobic statements have on LGBTI individuals and you are determined to fuel homophobia.

For this reason, we call on MISA to take action against your unethical reporting; we call on the LGBTI community to report these homophobic posts to Facebook; we call on all LGBTI who have been victimized to take action against you Daniel Kenosi. We call on ALL allies, friends and families of LGBTI persons to speak out against homophobia perpetuated by the likes of you Daniel Kenosi.

Report Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia to LEGABIBO at +267 316 74 25, and let your voice be heard by using the hashtags #StopHomophobia #NoHateBW

Download a copy here:

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Become a member now!

Download your LEGABIBO MEMBERSHIP FORM here!

You will be presented with new resources and many valuable opportunities that will help you. Membership Benefits include:
 Serving in the Executive committee  Access capacity enhancement programmes nationally, regionally and international  Opportunity to represent LEGABIBO in meetings and conferences.  Key player in CSO space nationally, regionally and internationally  Access to membership information packages and research documents.  Opportunity to be a human rights defender, champion and advocate for LGBTI issues  Given first priority in training and capacity strengthening  Opportunity for engagement and consultation on LGBTI issues  Given first priority on volunteer opportunities.  Member CBOs are partners in programmes, grants and advocacy.

Membership fees are only BWP 60.00 for individuals and BWP 100.00 for organisations.

Contact LEGABIBO on Tel: (+267) 393 2516 Fax: (+267) 3167425 Email: legabibo@legabibo.org Web: http://www.legabibo.org

or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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