July 1 Rally: The Importance of Gender Recognition

04 Jul

July 1 Rally: The Importance of Gender Recognition

The annual July 1 Rally has just ended. We are delighted to see many of you came and supported us. Looking back, among the different voices fighting for different rights, it is true that transgender and intersex issues were among the rarest topics. We want to bring this issue into our communities through large events such as the July 1 Rally so to enable understanding towards gender recognition laws in Hong Kong and its impact on gender minorities among citizens.

As one might would have noticed, we have chosen ‘Gender Recognition’ as this year’s theme. Gender recognition refers to a legal guarantee given to transgender and intersex persons on their human rights. Currently, there are no laws defining the multi-genderism found among transgender and intersex persons. This causes a rift in legal protection between them and cisgender persons in their daily living. Moreover, current laws dictate that anyone who wants to change the gender on their identity documents must undergo the complete gender reassignment surgery. Yet the surgery is one of extremely high risk (especially the transition from female to male); this rule thus creates unnecessary harm towards the bodies of transgender and intersex persons, as well as violates their Right of Bodily Integrity and Right to Health. Besides, there is no legal discussion on the rights of people who identify as a third gender/ sex, who identify as more than one gender or no gender at all. The absent discussion also violates the rights of the persons concerned and certain intersex individuals.

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) expressed its support for the establishment of a gender recognition law, arguing that legislation should not require transgender people to undergo sex reassignment surgery and refer to self-declaration as the best model of legislation. This proposal respects the rights of transgender people and protect their rights to dignity, bodily integrity and bodily autonomy, and is consistent with international human rights standards. AIHK supports a quick, transparent and accessible process for any person who seeks it. Any references to overseas practices should also undergo comprehensive review to prevent any abusive legislation to be applied in Hong Kong under any circumstances.

Looking forward into the future, not only does Hong Kong need to establish gender recognition laws to guarantee the human rights of transgender and intersex persons; but also to enable society in respecting their identity and existence. AIHK therefore urges the HKSAR government to take all necessary legislation and administrative processes to ensure the dignity and basic human rights of transgender and intersex persons so to disable discriminatory abuses targeted towards them.