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LGBT Rights in South Africa

    Homosexuality
    ✔ Legal
    Gay Marriage
    ✔ Legal
    Censorship
    ✔ No censorship
    Changing Gender
    ✖ Legal, but requires medical diagnosis
    Non-binary gender recognition
    ✖ Not legally recognized
    Discrimination
    ✔ Illegal
    Employment Discrimination
    ✔ Sexual orientation and gender identity
    Housing Discrimination
    ✔ Sexual orientation and gender identity
    Adoption
    ✔ Legal
    Military
    ✖ Lesbians, gays, bisexuals permitted, transgender people banned
    Donating Blood
    ✔ Legal
    Conversion Therapy
    ✖ Not banned
    Age of Consent
    ✔ Equal

Public opinion in South Africa appears to be somewhat divided on LGBTQ+ issues, as evidenced by recent studies.

South Africa Surveys

Views on Transgender People

Believe transgender people should be protected from discrimination.
Believe transgender people should be allowed to serve in the military.
Believe transgender people should be allowed to adopt children
Believe transgender people should have access to gender-affirming surgery.

History

Homosexual activity in South Africa

?

Homosexual activity in South Africa is legal.

Current status
Since Oct 9, 1998
Legal
While it remained illegal until the court gave its ruling on 9 October 1998, the 1998 ruling was ordered to be retroactively applied to 27 April 1994.
Added by brennen  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Apr 12, 1957–Aug 27, 1998
Illegal (imprisonment as punishment)
The prescribed penalty was a fine of up to R4000 or imprisonment for up to two years, or both.
Added by brennen  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Same-sex marriage in South Africa

?

Same-sex marriage in South Africa is legal.

Current status
Since Nov 30, 2006
Legal
As of 2006, South Africa made it legal to have a gay marriage as well as any other form of marriage in the act. As of 2020 there was an amendment to the bill, stating that same-sex marriage is a sole reason to get married.
Sources:
nbcnews.com/id/wbna15714036
parliament.gov.za/press-rel…
barnaschone.co.za/marriage-…~:text=Furthermore%2C%20Section%206%20of%20the,morals%20when%20performing%20their%20duties.
Added by brennen  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Censorship of LGBT Issues in South Africa

?

Censorship of LGBT Issues in South Africa is no censorship.

Current status
No censorship
In South Africa, there are no laws restricting the discussion or promotion of LGBTQ+ topics.
Added by equaldex  ·  1 accurate vote  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Right to change legal gender in South Africa

?

Right to change legal gender in South Africa is legal, but requires medical diagnosis.

Current status
Since Mar 15, 2004
Legal, but requires medical diagnosis
The Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act allows people to apply to have their sex status altered in the population registry, and consequently to receive identity documents and passports indicating their gender identity. The law states that transgender persons must undergo gender reassignment. This includes medical interventions but is not limited to surgery alone. Hormone therapy is considered to be gender reassignment, therefore surgery per se is not required.
Added by brennen  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Jan 1, 1974–Mar 15, 2004
Legal, but requires surgery
The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 51 of 1974 provided the legal foundation for—ostensibly white—South Africans who had “undergone a change of sex” to alter their “sex description” in the country’s birth register.
Added by JuliaB  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Legal recognition of non-binary gender in South Africa

?

Legal recognition of non-binary gender in South Africa is not legally recognized.

Current status
Not legally recognized
While the South African government had brought up offering non-binary identification in 2021, it hasn't been realized as of yet.
Added by DuffdeNecker  ·  1 accurate vote  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

LGBT discrimination in South Africa

?

LGBT discrimination in South Africa is illegal.

Current status
Since May 8, 1996
Illegal
Prohibition of "sexual orientation" discrimination was first included at Section 8 of the Interim Constitution that came into force in April 1994, and was carried through Section 9(3) of the Constitution of South Africa (1996).
Added by brennen  ·  1 accurate vote  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

LGBT employment discrimination in South Africa

?

LGBT employment discrimination in South Africa is sexual orientation and gender identity.

Current status
Since 1996
Sexual orientation and gender identity
Section 9(3) of the South African Constitution prohibits unfair discrimination on the grounds of sex, gender and sexual orientation. In addition, the Constitutional Court has stated that the section must also be interpreted as prohibiting discrimination against transgender people.
Added by murrayhawthorne  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

LGBT housing discrimination in South Africa

?

LGBT housing discrimination in South Africa is sexual orientation and gender identity.

Current status
Since 1996
Sexual orientation and gender identity
Section 9(3) of the South African Constitution prohibits unfair discrimination on the grounds of sex, gender and sexual orientation. In addition, the Constitutional Court has stated that the section must also be interpreted as prohibiting discrimination against transgender people.
Added by ctnguy  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Same-sex adoption in South Africa

?

Same-sex adoption in South Africa is legal.

Current status
Since Apr 1, 2010
Legal
Made officially legal through the Consolidated Children's Act of 2010
Added by brennen  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Sep 10, 2002–Apr 1, 2010
Legal
Legal under the case of Du Toit v Minister of Welfare and Population Development, later made official through the Consolidated Children's Act of 2010
Added by brennen  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Serving openly in military in South Africa

?

Serving openly in military in South Africa is lesbians, gays, bisexuals permitted, transgender people banned.

Current status
Since May 8, 1996
Lesbians, gays, bisexuals permitted, transgender people banned
Not a single country in Africa including South Africa doesn’t allow trans military service
Added by brennen  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Jan 1, 1971–Jan 1, 1989
Ambiguous
Between these time frames, the military often sent homosexual soldiers to psychiatric hospitals for shock therapy and, in some cases, sexual reassignment surgeries. Between 1967 and 1991, all white males over the age of 16 were conscripted in South Africa
Added by brennen  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Blood donations by MSMs in South Africa

?

Blood donations by MSMs in South Africa is legal.

Current status
Since May 20, 2014
Legal
Newer law has been passed. As of 20/05/2014 South African National Blood Service (SANBS) will accept donations from anyone as long as they have been in a monogamous relationship for the prior six months, or celibate - regardless of sexual orientation. Donors will be asked about sexual history rather than sexual orientation. Six month deferral instead applies to everyone with new sexual partners.
Added by imullin01  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Oct 1, 2006–May 19, 2014
Banned (6-month deferral)
Men cannot donate blood before May 2014, at the time it was a high risk for HIV and AIDS. They have since nulled the bill. A newer one has passed
Added by brennen  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Conversion therapy in South Africa

?

Conversion therapy in South Africa is not banned.

Current status
Not banned
There's no evidence that conversation therapy is practiced in South Africa, despite this, conversion therapy is believed to be performed.
Added by Ro_Guy  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Equal age of consent in South Africa

?

Equal age of consent in South Africa is equal.

Current status
Since Dec 16, 2007
Equal
As of December 14th 2007 all Age of consent is equal across the country.
Added by brennen  ·  1 accurate vote  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Apr 27, 1994–Dec 16, 2007
Ambiguous
Section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 23 of 1957, as inserted by the Immorality Amendment Act 2 of 1988, set the age of consent for gay and lesbian sex at 19, as opposed to 16 for straight sex. However, in the case of Geldenhuys v National Director of Public Prosecutions and Others the Constitutional Court found this discrimination to be unconstitutional, and set 16 as the uniform age of consent retroactively to 27 April 1994.
Added by ctnguy  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

Mar 4, 1988–Apr 27, 1994
Unequal
Section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 23 of 1957, as inserted by the Immorality Amendment Act 2 of 1988, set the age of consent for gay and lesbian sex at 19, as opposed to 16 for straight sex. Gay male sex was in any case illegal for all ages.
Added by ctnguy  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log

May 21, 1969–Mar 4, 1988
Unequal
Even though gay male sex was illegal for all ages, section 14 of the Immorality Act 23 of 1957, as inserted by the Immorality Amendment Act 57 of 1969, set the age of consent for gay male sex at 19, as opposed to 16 for straight sex. There was no age of consent for lesbian sex.
Added by ctnguy  ·  0 accurate votes  ·  Report Error  ·  Log


LGBT Rights by Province

View the LGBT laws in each individual province of South Africa.