Trans woman's landmark victory in sex identity case finalized

11/15/2021 10:54 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 15 (CNA) A landmark court ruling in September ordering that the gender on a transgender woman's ID card be changed is now final because the household registration office that rejected the change has not filed an appeal, the court announced Monday.

The case dates back to October 2019, when the Daxi District Household Registration Office in Taoyuan denied the application of a transgender woman, who identifies herself as "Xiao E" (小E), to change the gender shown on her ID card from male to female.

Xiao E took the case to court and in an unprecedented verdict, the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled in her favor on Sept. 23, ordering that the office allow the change of gender on the ID card.

The office had the chance to appeal, but it decided against it, making the ruling final, the High Administrative Court said Monday.

While hailing the case's final outcome, the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights said Monday that the result was an individual case and could not be applied to others.

It noted, however, that a similar case will be heard Tuesday afternoon in which Wu Yu-hsun (吳宇萱), also a transgender woman, filed suit for having her request to change her gender on her ID card rejected.

The Daxi Household Registration Office originally denied Xiao E's request based on a directive issued by the Ministry of the Interior in 2008.

The directive said that applications for a change in a person's gender on their ID card could not be approved unless the applicant provided a medical certificate indicating that the individual was diagnosed as having gender dysphoria and had conducted a sex change operation.

Though Xiao E submitted certificates issued by two separate psychiatric institutes that diagnosed her as having a gender identity as female, she was unable to provide proof of a sex reassignment surgery, leading to the rejection.

The administrative court ruled on Sept. 23, however, that the office was not in a position to ask applicants to inflict serious injuries to their body to qualify for a change of gender because of constitutional guarantees.

It said that all freedoms and rights under the Constitution that are not detrimental to social order or public welfare shall be guaranteed, and that restrictions on people's rights must be specifically provided for in laws.

Reasoning that changing the gender on one's ID card was a fundamental right, the administrative court therefore ruled that the household registration office should allow Xiao E to make the requested change.

(By Flor Wang and Liu Shih-i)

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