Groote Schuur accused of discriminating against transgender patient


Groote Schuur

One of the Western Cape’s most prominent public hospitals has been accused of mistreating a transgender patient.

Cape Town LGBT rights and services group Triangle Project claims that on October 25 its staff rushed a transgender client, identified as Ms N, to Groote Schuur hospital for emergency treatment.

Despite presenting as a woman, using a female name on her intake forms and repeatedly asking to be referred to as such, staff at the hospital blatantly refused.

According to Triangle, a doctor in the ward also barred the woman from a female ward or even a holding area for female patients unless she was designated ‘female’ on her ID document.

“Our client is homeless, lacking access to basic necessities and does not need the permission of the Department of Home Affairs to live her own identity,” said the organisation.

“Not only does this policy blatantly discriminate against the many people who do not fit neatly into gender binaries, it also serves to continue a dangerous culture which only treats trans men and woman as valid once they have passed through an arbitrary series of steps to ‘become’ their gender.”

Triangle said that “after two days of waiting and mistreatment,” Ms N was moved to a private ward in the hospital, with several key staff, including the Head of Doctors, Head of Nursing and others, personally apologising to her.

“This issue is far from over and we look forward to full and open engagement with the Department Of Health and all role players to ensure trans men and women in this province receive affirming and dignified treatment as the norm,” the organisation stated.

It called on the Western Cape Minister of Health, Prof. Nomafrench Mbombo, to review potentially discriminatory policies at hospitals under her administration.

Transgender South Africans have faced ongoing discrimination from officials at Home Affairs, including delays and refusals in amending their identity documents to reflect their gender identity.

Last month, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria forced the department to amend a transgender Boksburg man’s gender on a new ID document after a 26-year struggle.

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