Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
5 Jan 2022
5:22 pm

Saps slammed for ‘updated’ charge form with flawed ‘gender’ box

Citizen Reporter

There is a difference between a person’s gender and sexual identity, an oversight that has gained some intense reactions on social media.

Saps' updated gender box on case forms have mistakenly lumped gender and sexual orientation into one. Photo: Twitter

In a presumed gesture of goodwill, the South African Police Service (Saps) has diversified its forms when a charge is being opened at a police station. 

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, it was said Saps’ “gender” box on official forms had undergone a flawed expansion, from the initial male and female, to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ).

The problem? There is a difference between a person’s gender and sexual identity, an oversight that has gained some intense reactions on social media. 

ALSO READ: Lack of LGBTQI+ murder stats in SA a grave concern to activists

Gender and sexual orientation

A person’s sex is usually assigned at birth, and is either an infant born with male genitalia, i.e. a male, or female genitalia, a female. 

Gender identity is not necessarily associated with one’s assigned sex at birth, with the World Health Professional Association for Transgender Health stating that the expression of one’s gender characteristics differing from one’s sex is “a common and culturally diverse human phenomenon that should not be judged as inherently pathological or negative”. 

If a person feels their sex assigned at birth does not match their gender identity, this is known as gender incongruence or gender dysphoria. 

Most humans ascribe to a binary gender model, identifying either as a boy or man, or as a girl or woman. 

Those who experience a gender identity mismatch are likely to call themselves trans. 

Others may see themselves as gender neutral, non-binary or identify as both male and female. 

Sexual identity is, however, an entirely separate concept. 

ALSO READ: Gender equality calls inputs on state of equality for LGBTQI+ community

This refers to what a person finds themselves being romantically attracted to, and is not limited. 

For example, the Gender Identity Research and Education Society explains that trans people could be gay, straight, bisexual or asexual.

In other words, a person’s gender and sexual orientation are two completely different concepts.

In Chapter 2 of the South African Bill of Rights, gender, sex and sexual orientation are separately listed entities

A national task team was even set up in 2011 to address “corrective rape”, gender and sexual orientation-based violence and the plight and discrimination LGBTQI persons face.

Twitter users slammed Saps for not knowing the difference between these two concepts, and have called for more understanding and sensitivity. 

Compiled by Nica Richards