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KOS and Others v Minister of Home Affairs and Others (2298/2017) [2017] ZAWCHC 90

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KOS and Others v Minister of Home Affairs and Others (2298/2017) [2017] ZAWCHC 90

7th September 2017

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[1] This case came to court because of the difficulties transgendered persons in marriages that were solemnised in terms of the Marriage Act 25 of 1961 are experiencing in obtaining the recordal by the Department of Home Affairs of their sex/gender change, as provided for under the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act 49 of 2003 (‘the Alteration Act’).

[2] The first to sixth applicants are three married couples.  Their marriages were duly solemnised in terms of the Marriage Act.  The first, third and fifth applicants (to whom I shall refer individually as ‘KOS’, ‘GNC’, and ‘WJV’, respectively,  or collectively as ‘the transgender spouses’) were registered at birth as males.  That happened because they were born as biologically male.  The second, fourth and sixth applicants, with whom KOS, GNC and WJV are respectively wed, are female. After they had married, each of the transgender spouses underwent surgical and/or medical treatment to alter their sexual characteristics from those of a male to those of a female.  They did this because from an early age they had experienced tormenting gender dysphoria. Their self-awareness was that of being female trapped in a male body.  Transitioning was the means to liberate them from their gender dysphoria and express their self identification.

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