Mon, Jul 22, 2013 - Page 12 News List

Genderqueer and proud

The MOI declared illegal the marriage of a ‘third-gendered’ couple, after deciding that both are of the same sex. Now, Jiyi Wu and Abbygail Wu are fighting to have it reinstated

By Enru Lin  /  Staff reporter

QUEER MARRIAGE

Such a policy ruling is unthinkable when it comes to people who identify clearly as a man or a woman, but it’s a reality for the Wus.

There is currently no law that guarantees the marriage rights of a genderqueer person, whose union often falls into the category of same-sex marriage.

To circumvent Ministry of Justice interpretations that ban gay marriage, a genderqueer person can choose to transition to another gender category, but faces formidable hurdles.

Under MOI rules established in 2008, a person who wants a sex change must be deemed qualified by two psychiatrists and must have undergone sex reassignment surgery. For a female-to-male sex change, the person must have removed the breasts, uterus and ovaries. For a male-to-female sex change, the person must have surgically removed the penis and testes.

These requirements turn many genderqueer individuals away from getting their desired sex change. Some do not want to lose their sexual organs. Others simply can’t afford the surgeries.

In over 10 countries, such as the UK, medical surgery is not a requirement for a gender reassignment. Argentina, in an unprecedented move, has removed all requirements for a legal gender change, so that a person can change gender purely on request.

The MOI is rethinking its gender recognition policy and is midway through a survey of how other countries handle the issue, said Su Chih-meng (蘇誌盟), director of Population Policy at the MOI’s Department of Household Registration (戶政司人口政策), to the Taipei Times. Decisions will be announced in November.

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