Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Monday, Apr 22, 2024

Dreams of 'normal life' fuel Hong Kong trans activist's fight

Dreams of 'normal life' fuel Hong Kong trans activist's fight

Identified as "female" on his Hong Kong ID, trans activist Henry Tse waged an arduous legal battle to have his real gender recognized.
Six years later, he won the case to change his gender marker to "male" at the city's top court -- a victory he hopes will help make life easier for Hong Kong's trans community as a whole.

"I had no choice," Tse told AFP of his lawsuit, which he fought alongside another trans man identified as Q by the court.

"(My) ID card says 'female', which is clearly different from my real gender identity, it's wrong. Carrying such a card, even if all other information on it is correct... people won't believe it is me."

Frequently facing rejection and humiliation when trying to complete simple tasks like checking into a hotel or going to the gym, all he wanted was a "normal life".

Tse knew his fight for recognition would be tough, but he never imagined it would be so long.

Q told AFP the win felt like "accomplishing mission impossible".

"We just want the same rights that everyone else has, and to fight for our dignity," he said.

Until now, trans adults in Hong Kong could only change their IDs by proving they had had an operation to alter their genitalia.

In its February 6 verdict, the Court of Final Appeal found requiring transgender people to undergo surgery to change their IDs unconstitutional, saying it imposed "an unacceptably harsh burden" on Tse and Q.

Following Tse and Q's victory, the government's Security Bureau said it would "seek legal advice on follow-up actions".

Hong Kong does not have any overall legislation on gender identity, and a government task force set up in 2017 has yet to issue an update.

Human Rights Watch said the recent ruling was "limited in scope".

Still, the verdict sends "a strong message" to the authorities to "reform Hong Kong's outdated criteria for legally recognizing trans people".

Dozens of countries have adopted laws around gender identity, with some -- including Argentina, Denmark and Spain -- allowing legal recognition of transitions without a psychological or medical assessment.

In Taiwan, a trans woman took her ID card battle to court and won in 2021.

But her victory has yet to translate into a policy change applicable to other trans people.

In mainland China, transgender people can change their legal gender after undergoing surgery, though many limitations apply -- including that the person must be over 18, unmarried and produce proof they have informed their families.

In Hong Kong, some fear Beijing's crackdown on the opposition endangers further progress towards LGBTQ equality.

Many of the city's most prominent rights campaigners, and its only openly gay lawmaker, have been arrested, leaving few advocates in the halls of power.

In 2021, a Chinese University of Hong Kong survey found alarming levels of social marginalization among transgender respondents in the city, with half reporting discrimination and 77 percent saying they had contemplated suicide.

Growing up, Tse attended a Christian girls' school that required students to wear traditional cheongsam dresses, advised them to grow their hair long and described anything other than heterosexuality as "unnatural".

His family "felt that my gender non-conformance is a disease".

While studying at Britain's University of Warwick, Tse was able to explore his identity.

When he returned to Hong Kong in 2017, he began experiencing routine problems because his ID card identified him as female.

"I'm outed every time I show my identity card," he said.

At a gym, he was prevented from using the changing rooms, while a gender-segregated hostel turned him away.

"Clearly I should be in the space for men, but they were afraid of something happening, but actually nothing would happen," he said.

"When (my ID) causes so many day-to-day problems and unequal treatment, I can't live a normal life in Hong Kong like everyone else," he added.

In 2017, Tse went to court to demand his gender be stated on his ID card.

For nearly six years, he attended hearings and staged rallies while judges, lawyers and newspapers dissected the most intimate details of his life and biology.

"I was mentally prepared to fight to the end, but I never expected it to take so long," he said.

"It cost me time, effort, money, the best years of my youth."

His struggle inspired him to launch an NGO in 2020 to campaign for trans rights in Hong Kong.

Tse has vowed to continue building public awareness and fighting social stigma.

Everyone needs to know "we are normal people", he said.

"We are your friends and colleagues. We just want to live, work and get married in Hong Kong."
Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
×