A transgender woman has experienced one of the many challenges involved in updating the gender marker in her identity documents.
Consumer journalist Georgina Crouth reported that the Pretoria woman, named Joey, went through the unfortunately still difficult, lengthy and bureaucratic process to align her official state documents with her gender identity.
The result was being issued with a new identity number which, while a victory for Joey, also saw her almost lose out on an insurance benefit due to her from Capitec Bank.
She was informed by the bank that her existing funeral policy could not be amended by the company’s systems to reflect her new ID number, and thus she would have to be issued with a new policy.
While a new policy usually includes six-month waiting period, Joey was promised this should (quite rightly) not affect her.
However, when her uncle, who was included in the policy, passed away the bank refused to pay her out because this was within the waiting period, leaving her unable to pay the mortuary or funeral costs.
While some Capitec staff tried to resolve the issue, the desperate woman had no luck and was forced to turn to Crouth for assistance. Eventually, with Crouth’s in5terevantion the company relented and the funds were paid to Joey.
Francois Viviers, Capitec Bank marketing and communications executive Francois Viviers admitted that “It is a situation we have not experienced before but the bank is now able to take this into account.”
Crouth commented that while it might be an unusual scenario for the industry it “highlights the need for greater sensitivity towards a particularly vulnerable sector of society.”
The incident is indicative of the many burdens placed on transgender South Africans who simply want to live life as their true selves. Not only do they face the dehumanising difficulties of dealing with uncaring state officials but also, it seems, having to face additional corporate red tape.