A transsexual woman has allegedly been refused access to the female ablution facilities at a caravan park in Newcastle KwaZulu-Natal.

SABC news has reported that Ms Michelle van der Merwe claims that she was discriminated against and that she plans to take her case to the Constitutional Court.

Litigator Ashika Singh, who deals with gender and human rights issues, told the SABC that there is merit in Van der Merwe’s case.

Gender DynamiX, Africa’s only Transgender/ Transsexual Non Profit Organisaton, said that it supports Ms van der Merwe’s case and will endeavour to help her and her legal team to bring dignity to women like her.

“Transwomen often face this kind of prejudice in public facilities. Cities like New York have recently actively addressed these issues in their courts,” said Liesl Theron Executive Director of Gender DynamiX.

“In New York City, Transwomen have won the right to use female facilities without fear of harassment or aggression from police.”

South Africa’s constitution and laws protect trans people too but the public and those meant to uphold the law are most often not informed about this fact,” added Theron.

She has appealed for members of the media to inform themselves about transgender and transsexual issues and to cover the matter with sensitivity and awareness.

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