Hong Kong’s landmark transgender ruling: will the rest of Asia now follow suit?


LGBTQ advocates are hopeful that a landmark court ruling on transgender rights in Hong Kong earlier this month will create a legal ripple effect granting greater official recognition for trans people living elsewhere in Asia. Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal ruled on February 6 that it breached transgender people’s rights for the government to require them to undergo full sex reassignment surgery as a precondition for using their preferred gender on their identity cards. A similar surgery requirement is also imposed by authorities in mainland ChinaSingaporeSouth Korea and Japan. Taiwan has the requirement too, but judges there have since 2019 been granting ad hoc exemptions to it, leading a lower court judge to file a case with the self-ruled island’s Constitutional Court to clear up the legal uncertainty.

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