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Sat, May 27, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Transsexuals allowed to bypass military service

STAFF WRITER

Appeals by two transsexual men to bypass service in the military were granted by the Bureau of Military Service (兵役處) under the Taipei County (台北縣) government.

The two residents -- originally female by sex -- recently underwent transsexual surgeries to become men. After the surgeries, they applied to have their ID cards and certificates of residence changed to reflect their new sex. Soon after these changes were granted, they both received notice for military service.

They felt that although they had male physical characteristics, they were not psychologically prepared to live with other men in a setting like the military.

Diagnosed by the Veterans' General Hospital (榮民總醫院) as having "latent transsexual desire," they were spared from a series of physical and mental tests by the Bureau of Military Service and were granted permission to forego military service soon after their appeals.

This is not a first for the bureau. It has dealt with many similar cases, but in the past it has been mostly men who have undergone transsexual surgery to become women. The two cases were not as familiar.

Fang Jung-huang (方榮煌), a plastic surgeon at Veterans General Hospital, said as long as transsexual patients have detailed diagnoses report issued by professional doctors, they can apply to the Bureau for Military Service not to fulfill their conscription duties.

The hospital has performed transsexual surgery for more than 100 men to become women, while only 47 women have had surgery to become men.

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