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Hong Kong moving to allow post-op transgender people to marry opposite-sex partners

Hong Kong’s Security Secretary has extended a court’s order that a transgender woman be able to marry her opposite-sex partner to also include transgender men - but transgender people who have not undergone surgery have been excluded from the government’s plans for reform
Lai Tung-kwok
Photo by Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Hong Kong Security Secretary Lai Tung-kwok has extended a Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal order that allowed a post-operative transgender woman to marry her male partner to also include post-operative transgender men in the clearest signal that the Hong Kong Government intends to amend its marriage laws.

However Tung-kwok stressed only transgender people who had undergone a full transition with surgery would be recognized if the reform were passed, saying that any reform would include ‘the concrete requirements of sex reassignment surgery.’

In order to qualify under the planned reform a transgender person would have to provide medical documentation showing that they had had surgery to construct new genitals that matched their new sex.

Last July the Court of Final Appeal gave the Hong Kong Government 12 months to adopt it’s ruling.

Tung-kwang said Tuesday he planned to establish a ‘high-level interdepartmental working group’ to plot the best way forward on recognition of transgender people, convened by Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung.

The working group will consult with legal professionals and other stakeholders including members of the public.

University of Hong Kong associate professor and a director of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, Sam Winter said the government should not restrict the marriage reform to those who undergo sex change operations as not all transgender people were in a position to undergo surgery or desired to.

‘The government is taking the minimalist approach,’ Winter told the South China Morning Post, ‘The draft legislation is not inclusive or comprehensive enough.’

‘But we are cautiously optimistic that the government will set up an interdepartmental group which could be the first step to look into broader transgender issues without going to the courts.’

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