‘Humiliated’ transgender patient lodges complaint against Hong Kong nurse

Pre-op transgender woman complains to equality watchdog for being called 'Mr' loudly and repeatedly

‘Humiliated’ transgender patient lodges complaint against Hong Kong nurse
20 April 2013

A transgender person awaiting surgery to become a woman has complained to the Equality Opportunities Commission in Hong Kong how a nurse kept on calling her ‘Mr’.

Angel, a rights advocate in her 20s with Rainbow of Hong Kong, said the nurse’s loud use of the male honorific had drawn attention to her gender identity disorder, leaving her humiliated.

‘She called me ‘Mr’ loudly. Everyone addresses me by "Ms" or calls me Angel as they can tell I’m a woman by seeing me,’ the SCMP quoted Angel as saying.

‘I felt I was humiliated and my condition of having gender identity disorder was deliberately exposed by my being called ‘Mr’ in front of everyone in the lobby.’

On behalf of a mainland Chinese friend, she went to get a medical certificate at the psychiatric unit of the Prince of Wales Hospital last Friday (12 Apr), where her GID was diagnosed some two years ago.

Despite prior approval from the hospital, the nurse insisted the friend must come in person and eventually turned ‘emotional and unfriendly’, according to local reports.

Medical staff had seen Angel and called her ‘Ms’ before, but as the rows started the nurse refused to do so. This was the first time she had been addressed as ‘Mr’ since dressing as a woman.

Angel felt that years of efforts had been undermined and made a complaint with the EOC on Thursday (18 Apr) after consulting Rainbow of Hong Kong.

The EOC said it would study case and decide whether to launch an investigation, while the hospital stated it is a base rule for staff to be respectful and it had always reminded them to communicate well with patients.

Transgender people are protected in the city under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance as having the psychiatric disability of GID.

Gays and lesbians, meanwhile, are fighting for a discrimination ordinance on sexual orientations.

EOC chairman York Chow Yat-ngok today (20 April) called on the government to start preliminary consultation as soon as possible since there have been enough public discussion and examples of sexual orientation discrimination, according to CRHK.

With no extra funding from government coffers for legislation research, Chow said the EOC may have to use its own reserves. He also expressed his desire to integrate, simplify and modify the four existing Ordinances.

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