A new draft on gender reassignment regulations came under heavy fire over the past week as transgender rights advocates accused the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) of backpedaling on reforms.
On Friday, a meeting on the issue organized by the ministry left the draft undecided, with representatives from transgender groups, religious groups and government agencies unable to reach a consensus on the regulations.
The draft came as a serious setback for transgender activists, following what was described as a landmark victory last month, when the legislature demanded that the ministry eliminate an “inhumane” administrative order which requires the surgical removal of gender-specific organs before gender reassignment.
Although the ministry complied with demands to abolish the surgical requirement — which has long been criticized of leading many transgender people to undergo cheap, unsafe surgeries — its new draft provoked an equal amount of resistance.
The new proposals would bar married applicants or those with children from applying for gender reassignment, as well as allowing gender reassignment only once in an applicant’s lifetime.
The draft also retained the requirement for applicants to undergo two psychiatric assessments, along with an additional evaluation by a special committee.
Transgender activists and their supporters said the draft would impose strict obstacles on many people who wish to legally change their registered gender, adding that Minister of the Interior Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) failed to follow through on his agreement with legislators.
Transgender Punk Activist, a transgender rights advocacy group, wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday that the proposed regulations infringed on the rights of transgender people.
“Some transgender people entered marriage arrangements in the gender they were born with and had children, but in mid-life realized that they could not bear to live lives in which they were unable to be themselves,” the group said.
Transgender and Transsexual People Care Association secretary-general Zoe Ye (葉若瑛) — who was born a male but identifies as a transgender woman — described the new draft regulations as “obviously against human rights in many aspects,” adding that the ministry’s claims to reform were clearly just “a show.”
On Dec. 25 last year, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) and long-time political activist Shih Ming-te (施明德) cited an agreement with the ministry that new regulations on gender reassignment would be finalized within one month.
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