Control Yuan members yesterday reprimanded the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of the Interior for failing to protect the rights of intersex people.
Between 0.05 and 1.7 percent of the population is born with intersex traits, Control Yuan Vice President Sun Ta-chuan (孫大川) and Control Yuan member Gau Fehng-shian (高鳳仙) said in a report, citing UN statistics.
Based on the upper estimate, there might be 400,000 intersex people in Taiwan, they said.
Photo: Chung Li-hua, Taipei Times
The ministries have gathered no significant data on the intersex population and have never taken measures to conduct studies on the community, Sun said, adding that they have “ignored the existence of intersex people.”
They have turned a blind eye to the challenges that intersex people face — such as having a gender registered to them at birth and undergoing unnecessary surgery — let alone push for policies, he said.
The ministries’ behavior has already constituted a violation of human rights and is not in line with the principle of equality stated in Article 7 of the Constitution and the spirit of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, he said.
Due to pressure on parents to register births and insufficient medical guidelines, intersex children often undergo “normalizing” surgery too early, Sun and Gau said in their report.
The health ministry has not aided the families of intersex children by setting medical guidelines or providing them with parental handbooks, the report said, adding that this inaction might result in unnecessary surgeries and violate the rights to health and autonomy of intersex children.
For intersex people with needs that were present at birth, the National Health Insurance system’s lack of coverage for gender reassignment surgery violates the principle of equality, Gau said.
In some cases, intersex people pay for hormonal therapy out-of-pocket, she said, adding that it is also difficult for intersex people to find medical specialists.
These issues are disadvantageous to the health and care of intersex people and their right to national insurance, she said, adding that there should be research and discussion with the goal of amending the law.
As the interior ministry is redesigning its national identification card, the two urged the government to either add a third gender classification or explore other ways to specify intersex gender on the card.
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
PINGTUNG EXERCISE: The pilots tested their ability to land on the 24m-wide provincial highway, preparing for a scenario in which dedicated airstrips are damaged Emergency landing and takeoff drills for military aircraft were held on a provincial highway for the first time early yesterday as part of Taiwan’s Han Kuang military exercises, testing the ability of pilots and aircraft to land on narrow roads were airstrips to be damaged. The drill began at 6:30am on a 2.26km section of Provincial Highway No. 1 linking Pingtung County’s Jiadong (佳冬) and Fangliao (枋寮) townships. An Indigenous Defense Fighter, an F-16V, a Mirage 2000-5 and an E-2K early warning aircraft participated. The planes landed on the highway in that order at 6:30am, 6:32am, 6:34am and 6:36am before taking off at
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
‘ONE-OFF’ DEAL: Australia would become the only state, after Britain, that the US has helped to build a nuclear fleet, which a White House official called ‘unique’ The US on Wednesday announced a new alliance with Australia and Britain to strengthen military capabilities in the face of a rising China, with Canberra to receive a nuclear submarine fleet and US cruise missiles. US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not mention China in unveiling their alliance, dubbed AUKUS — but their intent was clear, and their announcement prompted fury in Beijing. China yesterday condemned the deal as an “extremely irresponsible” threat to stability in the region. The agreement also left Paris furious, as Australia scrapped a US$40 billion 2016 deal to