Activists and politicians have given a big Christmas present to the transgender community in Taiwan.
In a month, the Taiwanese authorities will stop requiring trans people to undergo reassignment operation before changing their legal gender, scrapping a policy that they now consider ‘inhumane’.
A special gender change commmitee will be set up to consider applications filed by trans individuals aged 18 or above, who will each be given a 6-month consideration period.
Rights activists and political heavyweights announced the government’s decision in a press conference earlier today at the Legislative Yuan, which passed a bill for the move on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare had already agreed not to force trans people into operation last year.
The Ministry of the Interior also backed down yesterday, after a joint meeting with activists, lawmakers and the Health Ministry. It was the Interior Ministry which first stipulated in an executive order in 2008 that transgender and intersex people must have relevant sexual organs removed in return for a new registered gender.
Interior chief Chen Wei-zen said the ministry respect trans people and now support less aggressive measures. It will try to come up with corresponding supporting policies over the next month, after scrapping the ‘inhumane requirement’, according to Yam News.
A trans woman surnamed Wu was overcome with emotions repeatedly during the press conference today. She had once been questioned 12 times by medical personnel who suspected she was using a false Natioanl Health Insurance card to scam the government.
Wu called the policy change ‘a great Christmas present’, calling on everyone in the trans community to be brave.
The Intersex, Transgender and Transexual People Care Association thanked various parties for their efforts over the years, and also the 19 lawmakers who passed the bill on Tuesday.
‘This is only a beginning,’ reads the ISTScare’s statement to Gay Star News. ‘There are many more issues to be solved, such as education, employment, medical treatment and family relationship.
‘We have a long way ahead and we will aslo keep urging relevant government organizations to act proactively.’