Hong Kong trans woman back in court to win right to marry boyfriend

W is in the Court of Final Appeal for legal ruling on her right to marry her boyfriend as a woman

Hong Kong trans woman back in court to win right to marry boyfriend
18 April 2013

A transgender woman is back in court in Hong Kong this week to appeal a 2010 decision not to allow her to marry her boyfriend, despite being described as female on her identity card.

The woman, who is referred to as Ms W in court, had government-subsidized gender realignment surgery and has been allowed to alter her identity card.

Hong Kong’s Registrar of Marriages told W that she could not marry her boyfriend because her birth certificate says she is male.

The case is now being heard in the Court of Final Appeal.

‘We say the laws of marriage can and should recognize that sexual identity can change,’ W’s lawyer David Pannick told the court in his opening arguments, The Jakarta Globe reports.

‘The right to marry is fundamental… the birth certificate is a record of historical facts. [W is now] medically, psychologically and socially [female]’.

Same-sex marriage is far from being legally or socially accepted in Hong Kong. LGBT rights activists said last week that marriage was not a priority for them as criminalizing discrimination is a more pressing matter.

‘We are not planning to fight for same-sex marriage legislation at this point of time,’ said Women’s Coalition of Hong Kong chair Connie Chan Man-wai who was part of a meeting on LGBT rights with new Equal Opportunities Commission chair York Chow Yat-ngok, The Standard reports.

‘We hope to focus on legislation on discrimination against homosexuals as the first step, as many homosexuals are being discriminated against at school and work,’ added Chan.

Chow said the commission would launch a public consultation into discrimination against LGBT people within three years, the activists who met him reported.  

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