HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s top court ruled on Monday that transgender people can change the sex marked on their identification cards (IDs) without undergoing surgery, making it a landmark victory for LGBTQ community.

Under the outgoing policy, Hong Kong’s ID cards display the sex assigned to a person at birth and for changing sex the person medically transitions with a gender confirmation surgery. Hong Kong activists have long argued for self-declared sex markers on identification cards.

Henry Tse, one of the activists who filed the legal challenge in 2017, said transgender people were “prohibited from full participation in life” due to this policy, which can also cause safety concerns. “We are outed every time we present our ID,” Tse said.

The requirements for changing the IDs forced trans people into undergoing expensive and invasive medical procedures despite health risks, he added.

In its ruling, the Court of Final Appeal, finding the surgery requirement unconstitutional, said that it imposed “an unacceptably harsh burden on the individuals concerned”.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2023

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