He was brilliant – trans woman on Home Affairs official

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

Juanita van Zyl (Facebook)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

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

- Follow Lauren on Twitter

Read more on:    home affairs  |  pretoria

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.