People who wish to legally change their registered gender will soon no longer be required to undergo surgery before applying, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday, marking a long-awaited victory for transgender rights advocates.
The ministry said it would soon terminate a controversial administrative order issued in 2008 that requires the surgical removal of gender-specific organs, as well as assessments from two psychiatrists, before a person is allowed to apply for gender reassignment.
Future applications for gender reassignment will be processed by a special committee that will include specialists on gender issues, psychiatrists and transgender representatives, long-time political activist Shih Ming-te (施明德) said yesterday at a news conference organized by transgender advocacy groups.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
According to the ministry’s current plans, applicants would be allowed to change their registered gender after they receive approval from the committee and wait through a required “hesitation period” of six months, Shih said, adding that applicants have to be over 18 years old.
Transgender rights advocates have long argued that a person’s gender should be based on self-identification rather than proof of surgery, and that the “inhumane” surgery requirement has forced many transgender people to undergo cheap, unsafe surgeries that have led to lasting injuries.
Led by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), a motion demanding that the ministry abolish the administrative order received bipartisan support at the legislature’s plenary session on Tuesday.
Ting said that forcing transgender people to surgically remove their reproductive organs is a violation of human rights.
In response, the interior ministry promised to abolish the order within one month, adding that it would formulate alternative criteria for gender reassignment applications with the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
An 18-year-old transgender activist known as Miss Wu (吳小姐), who was born male, but identifies as a transgender woman, said that transgender people encounter numerous difficulties as a result of their registered gender being different from the one they identify with.
“This is a very good Christmas present for me,” she said.
Other transgender activists have cited difficulties in applying for dormitory places or employment opportunities, as well as ridicule from others because of their choices in clothing and self-expression.
The reform signals a major step forward in better protecting the rights of transgender people, the Intersex, Transgender and Transsexual People Care Association said in a statement.
MONITORED BY JETS: Chinese aircraft included Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft, suggesting that China refueled its short-range jets during flight The air force scrambled again yesterday to warn away 27 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the Ministry of National Defense said, the latest increase in tensions across the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the nation, often in the southwestern part of its ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). Over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1, when China marked its national day, Taiwan said that nearly 150 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military aircraft entered its ADIZ, not territorial
DESTABILIZING: Beijing’s efforts to choke Taiwan, pressure its friends and hamper its democracy are a threat to the world, AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk said China’s provocative military activities near Taiwan are destabilizing and risk “miscalculation,” American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk said yesterday, reiterating the US’ objection to any unilateral changes to the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait. Oudkirk made the remarks in a speech at the annual conference of the Association of International Relations in Taipei. “In the Indo-Pacific region, America’s effort to resolve and manage differences with the leadership of the People’s Republic of [PRC] faces distinct challenges,” she said, referencing a range of actions by China that she said run counter to the shared values and interests of the
EXTRADITION POSSIBLE? The suspect, who is quarantining upon arrival in Xiamen, is accused of killing a coffee trader on a street near his house in Sindian District The suspect in an execution-style murder of a businessman in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店) has fled to China and officials are negotiating his extradition, the New Taipei City Police Department said on Tuesday. The suspect, surnamed Huang (黃), took a flight from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 2pm on that day to Xiamen, where he is staying in a quarantine hotel, as required by Chinese COVID-19 regulations, the department said. Investigators accuse Huang of shooting dead a local coffee trader surnamed He (何) on a street near his residence when he was returning from dropping off his daughter at her
BACK HOME: Lawmakers said the government should have known that the military reservist would be turned away from his United Airlines flight from Guam to Palau A military reservist vaccinated with Medigen’s COVID-19 vaccine, who was not allowed to board a United Airlines transit flight from Guam to Palau on Sunday, has returned to Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. After local media reported the incident on Tuesday, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center, told a news briefing that day that the reservist might not have paid enough attention to the US territory’s quarantine regulations. At a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee yesterday, lawmakers asked Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials to clarify