Victory for Jade & the transgender community
On Monday 23 September 2019, the Equality Court in the Western Cape handed down judgment in the matter of September vs Subramoney N.O and Others. Ms. September is a transgender woman currently serving a prison sentence inside a male correctional facility. While incarcerated, prison officials denied her the right to express her gender through her hairstyle, dress, and use of small amounts of make-up. She has also been subject to verbal abuse and harassment from prison officials, and at one stage placed in segregated confinement after trying to express her gender.
Ms September sought relief from the High Court for the violation of her fundamental constitutional rights to equality and human dignity, including an order that the respondents permit her to express her gender, and that her gender identity be respected and protected while incarcerated. Ms. September was represented by Lawyers for Human Rights, and her matter was heard on 26 and 27 November 2018. Gender Dynamix, represented by the Legal Resources Centre, were admitted as friends of the court.
We welcome and celebrate the judgment delivered by the Equality Court, which we believe is central to the promotion of the rights of transgender and gender diverse persons in South Africa. These classes of persons remain marginalised and ignored by the law and its application.
Lawyers for Human Rights is making an urgent appeal for assistance after a recent judgement by the Johannesburg High Court, which allowed the Helen Joseph Hospital to terminate life-saving dialysis treatment for a Johannesburg woman, Alem.
Without access to dialysis, Ms Ereselo will almost certainly die in the coming weeks. On 11 October 2019, the High Court handed down judgement in the matter of Alem v CE: Helen Joseph Hospital & Others case number 15448/19. Alem, 36, is represented by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), and is an asylum seeker from Ethiopia who has resided in South Africa for nine years. She approached LHR for assistance in April when the hospital first threatened to end her access to dialysis on the basis that she is not a South African citizen, despite being legally in the country as an asylum seeker for the last nine years, awaiting determination of her status.
“This decision amounts to a death sentence for Alem” said Jessica Lawrence, an attorney for LHR. “The underlying policy unfairly differentiates between South African citizens and asylum seekers, and is more broadly, an assault on the right to health of the poor”.
On 18 October 2019, the Helen Joseph Hospital terminated Alem’s treatment as sanctioned by the High Court, starting the clock ticking towards her death. LHR is preparing to launch additional legal proceedings shortly, in an effort to save Alem’s life. Given the lengthy nature of legal proceedings, LHR urgently appeals to other members of the private sector and individual donors to contribute to extending this life-saving treatment, pending the finalisation of the constitutional challenge.
TO DONATE: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/alemalive/