South Africa: The State versus identity Document (ID)

South African Identity DocumentsCape Town, 6 February:  South African citizens can do almost nothing without an Identity Document (ID). People whose ID particulars do not match their gender identity, gender expression and ultimately who they are, face obstruction, regular ridicule and discrimination. When the power of the state and the public sector control, rather than serve an individual’s most fundamental resource— their body— the consequences can be devastating. 

South African law, through the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act (Act 49), affords people the right to change the sex description markers in their official documents. These markers include one’s name; the number included in everyone’s ID number that indicates sex; and the ‘male’ or ‘female’ category on one’s birth certificate.

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