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People’s Matrix educates media on gender reporting

By ‘Mamohaila Rampo


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) persons throughout Lesotho are facing stigmatization and discrimination in the communities they live in.

In juxtaposition to this issue, the People’s Matrix embarked on educating media personnel on how to better report on gender issues.

The People’s Matrix Director Tampose Mothopeng made a clear distinction between sex and gender, saying most people confuse the two terms. Mothopeng said that a person typically has their sex assigned to them at birth based on their physiological characteristics including their genitalia and chromosome composition.

“Gender on the other hand involves how a person identifies with themselves. Unlike sex, gender was not made up of binary forms but instead, it was a broad spectrum where a person may identify at any point within this spectrum or outside of it entirely,” Mothopeng explained.

He advised people to learn more about gender and avoid generalising all groups under one umbrella.

Going deeper into details, Mothopeng said that there were Cisgenders “which means that the gender you identify with matches the sex assigned to you at birth. While Transgender is when your gender identity differs from the sex on your birth certificate.”

He then explained that in Lesotho hospitals, sex is assigned wrongfully, where doctors just simply look at the private parts to determine the gender of the child. He added that rightfully when a child is born, both internal and external body parts must be examined to determine the sex of the child.

Mothopeng insisted on the importance of addressing people with their preferred pronouns, especially while conducting interviews. He said some people are born male but classify themselves as female so they would be addressed as a “She” while some intersexual people prefer being called “They’’. He further advised the public to inquire the right pronouns from the LGBTQI+ communities and refrain from intentionally intimidating them.

Most people within the LGBTQI+ community faced discrimination because of defying societal norms, which mostly lead to stereotypes. Mothopeng mentioned that the world has intersexual children whom sometimes have both private parts and that rightfully such a child would have to grow up with both of them. He said that such children should make decisions as to which sex they preferred. Mothopeng indicated that Basotho parents have tendencies of deciding on behalf of such children, going as far as amputating the one they did not prefer without any medical assistance therefore causing more harm than good.