A survey has found that 37.3 percent of transgender people in the nation have experienced gender-related discrimination or bullying in the workplace, the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights said yesterday.
The alliance’s survey showed that 55.41 percent of transgender people said that they had been afraid to use a public restroom, 18.53 percent had been harassed or attacked in public, while 15.83 percent had been afraid to ask a police officer or other professional for help.
The survey, conducted from March 14 to Wednesday last week, was based on 518 valid responses from transgender people aged 14 to 78, the alliance said.
The results were released yesterday to coincide with International Transgender Day of Visibility, it said.
A transgender woman, who identified herself only as Alice, said at a news conference in Taipei that few people are aware of the challenges transgender people face in society.
Some avoid using public bathrooms to the point of developing health problems, while others, having been forced out by their families, have trouble supporting themselves financially, she said.
“For transgender people, just surviving is a very difficult thing,” she added.
Sexual reassignment surgery is classified as a non-essential, cosmetic procedure in Taiwan, said Lung-er (龍二), a transgender man.
“However, for transgender people, this is a very necessary operation,” he said, urging the government to include sexual reassignment surgery in the National Health Insurance system.
Under an administrative order issued by the Ministry of the Interior in 2008, people who wish to legally change their gender are required to provide proof that they have undergone surgery to remove their reproductive organs, as well as undergoing assessments by two psychiatrists, the alliance said.
The surgery requirement is a contravention of the International Bill of Human Rights, alliance secretary-general Chien Chih-chieh (簡至潔) said.
Within the transgender community, people have different opinions on the necessity of surgery, she said.
While some question its safety, others believe that only by undergoing surgery can their physical characteristics be aligned with their self-identity, she added.
Transgender people should not be considered a homogeneous group, Chien said, adding that doing so would result in policies that are unable to meet all of their individual needs.
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