Transgender prisoner fights for the right to express her identity behind bars

Judgment has been reserved in the case between transgender woman and the Department of Correctional Services and others on Tuesday.

Jade September approached the Western Cape High Court fighting for the right to express her gender, and that she be respected in her gender identity while incarcerated.

Her legal representatives claim that the prison authorities have harassed and unfairly discriminated against her for expressing her identity.

They argue that this is in contravention of the Promotion of Equality and Unfair Discrimination Act.

The judgment is expected to set a precedent for the treatment and rights of transgender inmates within the prison system.

Transgender advocacy group Gender Dynamix has criticised the State's argument that allowing September freedom to express her gender identity will lead to increased violence.

Gender Dynamix national advocacy manager, Grayson Thela, says the Constitution protects people against unfair discrimination based on their sex and gender.

Jade is a transgendered woman and she does not identify as a male.

Grayson Thela, National Advocacy Manager at Gender Dynamix

She should be treated with respect like any other individual based on her gender, not her sex or sexual orientation.

Grayson Thela, National Advocacy Manager at Gender Dynamix

If sex and gender meant the same thing, there would not be a comma between the two words in the Constitution.

Grayson Thela, National Advocacy Manager at Gender Dynamix

The State is enforcing the binary and are not seeing the intersectionality and diversity that exists within human beings.

Grayson Thela, National Advocacy Manager at Gender Dynamix

Listen to the discussion on The John Maytham Show:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Transgender prisoner fights for the right to express her identity behind bars


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