Government proposes to amend laws to include third gender on birth certificates

Government proposes to amend laws to include third gender on birth certificates

The government is looking to ensure that those who do not identify as male or female at birth are not discriminated against.

Gender/ iStock

Not all children are born male or female. In some instances, children are born with both male and female organs. Sadly, these children are forced to be registered as either male or female at birth. 

"Such children are assigned either a male or female sex status at birth. Some social groups are discriminated against in the current identity management system. This is because the identity number that we use is not gender neutral. The identity number recognises and accommodates only two categories, namely, male and female,” states the Official Identity Management Policy (OIMP) document from the government. 

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This is because, currently, there are only two sexes that are recognised by the Identification and Births and Deaths Registration Act. 

But great news has come to light as the government is looking at changing things. 

The Department of Home Affairs published a draft Official Identity Management Policy (OIMP) on 31 December 2020 that seeks to include a third gender in order to recognise other sex/gender categories.

This will cater for children who are born intersex.  

The draft proposal describes intersex as “an adjective referring to a person whose sexual anatomy, reproductive organs and/or chromosome patterns do not fit the typical definition of male or female. These anatomical differences are often perceived to be both male and female at the same time; not quite male or female; or neither male or female. These congenital differences in anatomical sex often result in physical differences in secondary sex characteristics such as muscle mass, hair distribution, breast development and stature.”

The proposal is that: 

- The population register must make a provision that enables the establishment of a category that is neither male nor female.

- The sex category must cater for transgender that will enable updates of sex information in the population register.

- Issuing a random unique identity number that is not linked to or founded on a person’s sex, date of birth, place of birth or any other marker.

-  That the new legislation and National Identity System must enable the registration of births for intersex children.

Image courtesy of iStock/@AndreyPopov

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