He was brilliant – trans woman on Home Affairs official

2015-08-24 16:21
Juanita van Zyl (Facebook)

Juanita van Zyl (Facebook)

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Pretoria - She’s long been on the receiving end of prejudice and ignorance but on Monday Juanita van Zyl came one step closer to realising her female self.

Van Zyl is a transgender woman who was misgendered and denied by Home Affairs staff the right to change her gender information on her identity document.

But after Home Affairs officials saw News24’s reports on the incident, Benjamin Khoza, a director in one of the department’s call centres got in touch with Van Zyl and went to her office to personally put through her application.

"He was brilliant," an ecstatic Van Zyl exclaimed.

This was in stark contrast to her earlier treatment by Home Affairs staff.

Last Wednesday, she went to the branch in Centurion. Not only was she incorrectly referred to as "sir", even though she presented herself as a woman, she was also told by an official that her medical reports did not have a stamp from her doctor.

Officials then asked her four times in front of other members of the public about her gender change, an experience Van Zyl described as humiliating.

But Khoza told Van Zyl that he couldn’t believe she was refused help and said the medical reports she submitted had all the necessary information.

She also told Khoza she was willing to speak to the department’s staff to help them better understand trans persons.

"We’re human. We’re not a threat," she said.

"This [application for ID gender change] doesn’t mean my battle is over but it's a hurdle I just stepped over."

- What's your experience with Home Affairs been like? Let us know

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Read more on:    home affairs  |  pretoria

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