Following a heated debate, the Ministry of Health and Welfare yesterday came to the conclusion to scrap a regulation requiring people to meet certain “medical prerequisites,” such as psychiatric assessment and gender-specific organ removal, before they can officially change their gender.
“We have arrived at the conclusion that the requirement to fulfil medical prerequisites should be voided,” Chen Kuai-lo (陳快樂), director of the ministry’s Department of Mental and Oral Health, announced after the decision was reached at a meeting in Taipei that he presided over. “Our conclusion will be forwarded to the Ministry of the Interior’s Department of Household Registration for further review and discussion.”
Speaking to the Taipei Times in a brief interview after the meeting, Chen said that in 2008, the interior ministry issued an executive order requiring the removal of gender-specific organs and assessments by two psychiatrists before a citizen is allowed to change their gender on official documents.
“Since human rights values have become more of a priority for the government in policymaking, we feel it’s time to make a change and respect the will of any person wishing to change their gender,” Chen said.
However, because the current regulations were issued by the interior ministry and it is the authority in charge of household registration and compulsory military service, the health ministry’s conclusion has to be forwarded to the interior ministry for further examination before it can begin the process of implementation.
The proposal to relax gender-change regulations sparked a heated discussion during the Taipei meeting between supporters and critics of the move.
Feng Jung (馮榕), a psychiatrist at Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, was opposed to scrapping the psychiatric assessment requirement.
“People who undergo gender reassignment surgery sometimes regret it, because they find it too challenging to adapt to many aspects of their lives after the surgery,” Feng said. “About one-third of people who undergo gender-change procedures regret doing so.”
Feng added that there have been at least two cases of transgender people committing suicide in the nation because they could not adapt to the change.
North Taiwan Transgender Sisters Association convener Yeh Ju-ying (葉若瑛) disagreed with Feng.
Yeh said the two cases of suicides cited by Feng occurred not because the postoperative patients had problems adapting to their new bodies, but because they buckled under pressure from society, which is compounded by being unable to officially change their gender under the existing regulations.
“We’re not asking for any special privileges to be granted to those seeking to change their sex, we’re only asking the government to at least remove gender reassignment surgery as a requirement for an official change in gender status,” she said.
After hours of discussion, Chen handed down the health ministry’s finding, which, following the suggestion of Tsai Li-ling (蔡麗玲), an associate professor at National Kaohsiung Normal University’s Graduate Institute of Gender Education, concluded that the health ministry supported scrapping the medical prerequisites, but would ask the interior ministry to look into the details of such a move.
Commenting on the conclusion, Department of Household Registration Director Hsieh Ai-ling (謝愛齡) said the department would research the issue as requested by the health ministry.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,