THE STRUGGLE FOR TRANSGENDER RIGHTS CONTINUES WITH TAIWAN’S FIRST LEGAL GENDER CHANGE WITHOUT PROVIDING PROOF OF SURGERY

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11/21/2021

A variety of events happened this past week with regards to the ongoing struggle for transgender rights in Taiwan, including Taiwan’s first successful legal gender change without submitting proof of surgery, Lisbeth Wu’s second preliminary proceedings, and the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights’ (TAPCPR) second Transgender Film Festival. These gains for transgender rights have not gone unchallenged though, as the past two months have also included increasing opposition.

On Thursday (11/18), TAPCPR lawyers accompanied Xiao E to the Daxi Household Registration Office to formally process Xiao E’s legal gender change. Given that the Daxi Household Registration Office did not appeal the Taipei High Administrative Court’s September 23rd ruling against requiring proof of surgery for changing one’s legal gender, Xiao E’s request was successfully processed, making her the first transwoman in Taiwan’s history to change her legal gender without submitting proof of surgery. The September 23rd ruling deemed unconstitutional the current Ministry of Interior executive order (內政部97年11月3日內授中戶字第0970066240號令) requiring proof of having surgically removed specified reproductive organs—penis and testicles for transgender women; breasts, uterus, and ovaries for transgender men—in order to legally change one’s gender. Further, the court exercised its authority to order the Daxi Household Registration Office to accept and process Xiao E’s legal gender change. TAPCPR reemphasized in a press release on Friday that the ruling “is only legally effective for Xiao E and does not extend to other cases.” Should the Ministry of Interior refuse to amend their executive order on legal gender change requirements , the only way for other transgender people to change their legal gender is to successfuly undergo the same litigation process as Xiao E.

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