Hong Kong Amends Surgery Requirements to Change ID Gender Markers


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Hong Kong now not requires transgender folks to bear full gender-affirming surgical procedure to change their authorized gender markers of their IDs, greater than a 12 months after the Chinese enclave’s high court docket known as the requirement unconstitutional.

The authorities introduced the change on Wednesday, “having prudently considered the objective of the policy, relevant legal and medical advice, as well as drawing reference from the relevant practices overseas.”

Under the brand new guidelines, Hong Kong residents who haven’t undergone full intercourse reassignment surgical procedure [SRS] who need to have their gender marker on their ID modified nonetheless should have accomplished choose surgical therapy to modify their sexual traits—removing of the breasts for transgender males, removing of the penis and testes for transgender girls—together with medical documentation. Previous tips required the removing of the uterus and ovaries or the development of a penis or “some form” of it for female-to-male transition, and the removing of the penis and testes and the development of a vagina for male-to-female transition.

“We are still concerned about the heavy emphasis on sex reassignment surgeries being a requirement,” Wong Hiu-chong, the lawyer for transgender activist Henry Tse, whose case led to the coverage change, informed TIME. “SRS can be life threatening.”

Those who want to change their gender markers should additionally statutorily declare that they’ve gender dysphoria—the medical time period for the psychological misery an individual feels when their gender identification doesn’t match with their assigned intercourse at beginning—and have lived as the alternative intercourse for a minimum of two years earlier than their software. They should additionally present proof of receiving hormonal therapy all through the earlier two years, and shall be subjected to random blood exams to verify their hormonal profile.

“Our clients have waited a very long time for such an unconstitutional policy to be revised, and for them, the wait has been painful,” Wong stated in an announcement. She additionally questioned the necessity for blood exams, calling this requirement, amongst others that stay for gender marker adjustments, “potentially discriminatory” because it doesn’t apply to different Hong Kong ID card holders.

A authorities spokesperson clarified within the announcement that the gender marker change will solely apply to the Hong Kong Identity Card and that “the sex entry on a Hong Kong identity card does not represent the holder’s sex as a matter of law. It does not affect any other policies of the Government or the handling of any other gender-related matters under the law in Hong Kong or relevant legal procedures.”

The coverage change comes years after Tse filed a case in 2017 to query the complete gender-affirming surgical procedure requirement. Despite town’s Court of Final Appeal issuing a ruling deeming the requirement unconstitutional in February 2023, implementation of the ruling was long-delayed, which Tse additionally challenged. The ruling stated “such surgical procedures are at the most invasive end of the treatment spectrum” and that “full SRS is not medically required by many transgender persons whose gender dysphoria has been effectively treated.”


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