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Taiwan to add third gender to passports and national ID cards

Taiwan to add third gender to passports and national ID cards

Hsieh Cheng Lung with his fiance. The two made the best marriage proposal video. Photo: Facebook via Hsieh Cheng Lung

Taiwan has continued on the path to being a regional leader on LGBTI issues as it considers allowing a ‘third gender’ passports, household registration and national identity cards.

The country’s Gender Equality Committee (GEC) which forms part of the Executive Yuan announced the proposed changes. It said the changes would help ensure the civil rights of trans, intersex and gender diverse people.

The proposed changes are pending approval from Ministry of the Interior (MOI), but the affected departments have said it would be easy to update their systems, according to a report in Up Media.

Once the MOI approves the addition of a third gender option for household registration and national ID cards, it would be simple to make the changes for passports as well.

Speaking to media last week, Andrew Lee, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would make the necessary changes ‘immediately’.

When the change is approved, Taiwan will join Canada, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Ireland and Nepal in introducing a third gender option on passports.

Asian leader

Taiwan has been increasingly seen as a leader in Asia on sexuality and gender issues.

In May last year Taiwan became the first country in the region to legalize same-sex marriage. The Judicial Yuan ruled the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The court ordered legislators to make it law within two years.

However, LGBTI advocates have also been battling to retain sex and gender education in schools about the LGBTI community.