The Lusaka High Court has granted a Lusaka resident an order compelling the Registrar General of Births and Deaths to change her birth records from female to male after medical tests proved she was in fact fact.
This case marks a turning point in the history of the country with regards to sexual and gender identity disorders – a subject that has long been considered taboo in Zambia.
Hellen Sibanda, who has lived his entire life believing he was female due to the physiological appearance of his genitalia, was seeking to assume the correct gender as determined by medical experts and scientific evidence.
Following the landmark judgment delivered by High Court judge Betty Majula-Mung’omba, Hellen will now legally change his name to Rick Sindaba Nkuba and all his legal documents will be changed to bear the male gender.
“Hellen Sibanda, the applicant in this matter has for several years now labored under the belief that she is female. This is as a result of the fact that she was born with a defect known as disorder of sex development (DSD). As a result of this, all her records such as the birth record, certificates, driving license and educational certificates bear her as being that of a female,” read judge Majula-Mung’omba’s judgment.
“Growing up in her community and indeed in her household, she was always treated as such female. In her later years, like every girl her age, she awaited the onset of puberty and the attendant consequences thereof. To her disappointment, she experienced no such physiological developments. This left her and her parents wondering what was amiss, prompting her to seek medical assistance from Dr Brown Kamanga who advised her to undergo a blood test to determine the structure of her genetic makeup. She obliged and following the test, it was revealed to her that her genetic makeup is, what in biological terms referred to as 46XY chromosomes, signifying that she is a male.”
Medical tests revealed that Hellen had testicles trapped underneath the stomach and what appeared externally as a vagina was in fact a blunt which was unconnected to any reproductive organ, whilst what he thought was a clitoris was in fact a penis which is capable of ejaculation.
The tests further revealed that Hellen had no ovaries or womb or other female reproductive organs.
Judge Betty Mujala-Mung’omba also ordered the Examinations Council of Zambia and all schools which Hellen had attended to change his certificates to reflect that of a male.
On changing to the male name of Rick Sindaba Nkuba, the court advised Hellen to file a deed pole by lodging documents and paying the prescribed fees in accordance with statutory instrument number 40 of 2014 of the births and deaths registration.