It is time for action to protect the rights of Hong Kong’s LGBTQ community

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Ten years ago, a judgment by Hong Kong’s top court was hailed as a breakthrough for the city’s transgender community. Last week, another landmark ruling was rightly heralded in similar terms. But little has been done in between the two decisions to safeguard the rights of the LGBTQ community, despite growing support among the general public and advances around the world. The courts have, at times, struck out discriminatory practices. But successive administrations have dragged their feet. The lack of progress undermines Hong Kong’s claim to be inclusive and diverse. In 2013, top judges ruled a transgender woman could marry her boyfriend. They said legislation was needed to clarify the law for transgender people in areas such as parenting, benefits, pensions, sport and discrimination. The government responded by permitting transgender people to marry, but only if they have had “sex reassignment surgery”, involving the removal and reconstruction of their genitals.

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