Hong Kong transgender people win status change lawsuit


Hong Kong’s top court ruled on Monday that gender reassignment surgery is not a prerequisite for transgender people to change their gender on their official identity card, in a court filing. The move could have far-reaching effects on the transgender community.

A transgender activist, Henry Edward Tse, and someone identified only as Q appealed to a court last month about the government’s refusal to change the gender on their identity cards because they decided not to. Full sex reassignment surgery.

Tse and Q are both transgender men who have had their breasts removed, receive hormone treatment, and live male lives with professional support and guidance as well as psychiatric treatment.

The Court of Appeals ruling is expected to have a broad impact on the LGBTQ community as many transgender members of this community consider surgery unnecessary and risky.

The two went to court over current government policy that only allows transgender men to officially change their gender if they remove their uterus and ovaries and create male genitalia. Only those who are unable to undergo surgical procedures for medical reasons can be exempted.

Both the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal overruled the judicial review proceedings instituted by Tse and Q. Both were allowed to go to the Court of Final Appeal.

In a ruling published Monday, the court said the government’s policy was unconstitutional and imposed an “unacceptably harsh burden.” They also say the policy is “disproportionate” in infringing on both’s rights to gender identity and physical integrity.

The judges also said any administrative problems that often arise tended to be related to transgender people’s physical appearance, not the appearance of their genitals, and gender identity. their identity card must not be modified “creating more confusion or shame.”

Tse welcomed the ruling, saying many transgender people have been yearning for “final victory” for years.

“Now that I have a male ID, it’s a lot easier for me to access sexist spaces,” he said. “I will not be interrogated and humiliated to be disqualified because my ID doesn’t match who I am.”

Liam Mak, co-founder and president of local transgender youth organization Quarks, described the win as a “major milestone” for the transgender community in Hong Kong.

“We believe that our gender identity should not be tied to medical intervention, we should ensure the policy of medical intervention is minimal or no,” Mak said. “As each individual has different preferences or decisions in their own transgender journey, I hope that the government will consult the advice of the courts to protect the rights of all transgender people. .”


Associated Press journalist Alice Fung contributed to this report.

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