Monday, December 30, 2013

Trans Namibians Facing Documentation Problems

I keep pointing out that trans human rights issues are worldwide issues, and it is very interesting to note that no matter what country we reside in, some of our problems are the same.

One of those trans problems that crosses international borders is documentation.

It shouldn't be, but as my now 8 months and counting drama just to get a Texas drivers license is an example of and Valentina Verbal of Chile being forced to drop out of a race for a seat in her national legislature because of it, we go through a lot of drama as transpeople because of mismatched identification. 

That being said, let's move to Namibia, where some of our transpeeps living in that nation like 24 year old Mercedez von Cloete are receiving resistance when it comes to acquiring documentation that accurately reflects who they are now.

Article 13 of the UN Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:

  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
According to an article in The Namibian, despite being able to transition and have SRS be legal in that nation, Namibian trans people like Cloete are being shown the door when they attempt to get the documentation that they need to travel in and out of the country.

Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration head Jacobius van de Westhuizen says this shouldn't be happening and no Namibian should be denied the right to identification documents.

But the reality for Mercedez and other Namibian transpeople is quite different.  Cloete applied for a new passport photo in June 2012.  The application was not only turned down, but she didn't find out about the denial despite checking multiple times until a year later.

In the meantime, that puts Cloete in the situation every time she travels to South Africa of being subjected to lengthy questioning and delays by both Namibian and South African customs officials because her old passport photo looks nothing like the woman she is now.

We shouldn't have to go through lengthy bureaucratic delays and unnecessary drama just to get documentation that matches the people we are now.  


No comments: