Hong Kong court de­nies male sta­tus to 3 trans­gen­der men

Sun.Star Pampanga - - WORLD! -

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s High Court re­fused to al­low three trans­gen­der men to be rec­og­nized as males on their of­fi­cial iden­tity cards be­cause they have not un­der­gone full sex-change op­er­a­tions.

The rul­ing Fri­day was seen as a blow to the fledg­ling LGBT move­ment in the semi­au­tonomous Chi­nese city of 7.4 mil­lion peo­ple, which is pre­par­ing to host the 2022 Gay Games.

The three, iden­ti­fied as Henry Tse, Q and R, are shown on their ID cards as hav­ing been born fe­male, but are un­der­go­ing hor­mone ther­apy. A full sex change would re­quire the re­moval of fe­male sex­ual or­gans, mak­ing them ster­ile.

Ap­pear­ing in court, Tse un­furled a ban­ner that read, “Forced Ster­il­iza­tion is cruel and in­hu­mane. Rec­og­nize our Rights NOW!”

In his rul­ing, Judge Thomas Au wrote 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.”

Like many Asian so­ci­eties, Hong Kong has be­come more open about gen­der is­sues, al­though the le­gal sys­tem is some­times slow to fol­low.

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 rec­og­nized,” Man-kei Tam, direc­tor of Amnesty In­ter­na­tional Hong Kong, said in a state­ment.

Fri­day’s de­ci­sion fol­lows a rul­ing last week by Ja­pan’s Supreme Court up­hold­ing a law that ef­fec­tively re­quires trans­gen­der peo­ple to be ster­il­ized be­fore they can have their gen­der changed on of­fi­cial doc­u­ments. That rul­ing was widely de­nounced by hu­man rights and LGBT ac­tivists and may spark fur­ther le­gal ac­tion.

Ja­pan is one of many coun­tries with a ster­il­iza­tion re­quire­ment. In 2017, the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights said 22 of the coun­tries un­der its ju­ris­dic­tion still re­quired ster­il­iza­tion as part of a le­gal gen­der change, and it or­dered them to end the prac­tice.

Maria Sjodin, deputy ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Out­Right Ac­tion In­ter­na­tional, which mon­i­tors LGBT rights is­sues world­wide, said she was un­sure if all 22 of those coun­tries have fully im­ple­mented the court’s or­der.

In Hong Kong, the judg­ment seemed at odds with a 2013 rul­ing that al­lowed a trans­gen­der woman known as W to have her gen­der changed to fe­male on her iden­tity card. W had suc­cess­fully sued in the city’s high­est le­gal body, the Court of Fi­nal Ap­peal, for her right to marry her boyfriend.

Fol­low­ing that case, the city’s Equal Op­por­tu­ni­ties Com­mis­sion rec­om­mended that the gov­ern­ment drop the re­quire­ment for com­plete sex re­as­sign­ment. The gov­ern­ment in 2017 held a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on whether the com­mis­sion’s rec­om­men­da­tions should adopted but has yet to re­lease the find­ings.

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