Hong Kong rules on transgender identity

Hong Kong’s High Court on Friday stood behind the government’s policy that a transgender person can only change the gender option on their identity card after they’ve undergone full sex reassignment surgery.

According to the Hong Kong Free Press newspaper, Judge Thomas Au argued that full gender confirmation surgery was the “only objectively ascertainable criterion” when having to decide a person’s gender. 

In his ruling, Au further stated that “the change of gender entry stated in the ID card does not only concern the private right of the transgender person, but also the wider public interest”.

As a result, a court application involving three pre-surgery transgender men to be recognised as males on their official identity cards has been denied. They have been identified as Henry Tse, Q and R. 

By having had their breasts removed and undergone hormone therapy, the three were able to legally change their gender in Britain. In addition, they were able to prove they had suffered from gender dysphoria, lived as their gender for two years and intend to continue doing so.

In contrast to British laws, however, China still requires full reassignment surgery before a trans person can officially be recognised as their gender.

Amnesty International called the judgment “a missed opportunity to address the discrimination transgender people in Hong Kong face”.

“No one should be forced to undergo gender affirming surgery in order to have their gender legally recognised,” Man-kei Tam, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said in a statement.

According to the applicants’ lawyer, they are disappointed but definitely plan to appeal the ruling. 

[Source: Hong Kong Free Press]