South African Trans prisoner wins right to identify as female in men’s jail

courtSouth Africa Department of Correctional Services was found to have acted in a discriminatory manner and against the Constitution by not allowing Jade September to express herself as a trans woman in a men’s jail, the Western Cape High Court ruled on Monday.

“The respondents have failed in their duty to accommodate the applicant reasonably,” ruled Judge Chantal Fortuin.

Fortuin ordered that all of Jade September’s confiscated underwear and jewellery be returned, that she be allowed to grow her hair long, and that she be addressed with a woman’s pronoun.

The department also has to introduce gender sensitivity training for new and existing officials.

Fortuin said that just because September was incarcerated did not mean she lost her constitutionally enshrined rights.

Fortuin received a standing ovation from the public gallery when she finished her judgment.