Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Sunday, Jul 14, 2024

Hong Kong’s top court urged to grant transgender right for ID card change

Hong Kong’s top court urged to grant transgender right for ID card change

King’s counsel asks Court of Final Appeal to allow transgender people to change their official gender without having to undergo surgery.

Hong Kong’s top court should rule that transgender people can change their official gender without requiring they undergo full reassignment surgeries instead of waiting for the legislature to amend the law, a prominent British lawyer has argued.

King’s Counsel David Pannick urged justices at the Court of Final Appeal on Wednesday to take the lead, citing the lack of action from the Legislative Council and the government following a landmark court ruling in a transgender case in 2013.

Pannick was representing Henry Edward Tse and “Q” in their final legal bid to scrap full sexual reassignment surgery as a prerequisite to changing their gender on their identity cards. The medical procedure – involving an operation on the genitals – is considered unnecessary, and even risky, by many in the transgender community.

The pair, who have undergone hormonal treatments and had their breasts removed, took the matter to court in 2019 after the city’s commissioner of registration refused to change the gender on their ID cards. This was despite the fact that Tse is recognised as a man on his British passport.


King’s Counsel David Pannick has urged the Court of Final Appeal to take the lead in transgender rights.

Hitting back at the commissioner’s suggestion on Wednesday that the matter should be left to the legislature, Pannick noted it had been “nine years and counting” since the case of “W”, a transgender woman who won a court battle to marry her husband.

“For whatever reasons, which I am not inviting the court to speculate on, the legislature has not addressed these issues,” he said.

In the earlier case, the top court overturned the decision of the Registrar of Marriages, which refused to acknowledge her wedding vow on the grounds she was born a man and that Hong Kong did not recognise same-sex marriage.

In overturning the registrar’s decision in 2013, the Court of Final Appeal also urged the government and legislature to further consider at which point a transgender person should be considered officially transitioned.

But Pannick noted the government took another five years to release a consultation paper on the matter, even though a dedicated working group was set up in 2014, and had yet to amend the relevant legislation.

In 2014, amendments to the marriage laws meant to comply with the case of “W” were voted down in Legco after failing to secure sufficient support across the political spectrum.

Pan-democrats objected to the bill’s requirement that a person must undergo full gender reassignment surgery to be considered transgender, while the pro-establishment bloc argued marriage should not be extended boundlessly in a traditional society such as Hong Kong.

The government has not made another attempt to amend the relevant legislation.

Pannick argued no medical evidence existed suggesting a full operation was needed to treat gender dysphoria. He said the commissioner had failed to justify his insistence on the surgical requirement, adding that the European Court of Human Rights had already ruled out its necessity.

In response to the commissioner’s suggestion that Hong Kong was governed by a different set of social circumstances, the barrister said: “My respectful submission is that the local culture and social experience do need to accommodate the basic human rights principle of private rights.”

British barrister Monica Carss-Frisk, KC, for the commissioner, said the case concerned not only the rights of the two transgender appellants, but also that of the wider public.

She said leaving medical professionals to decide whether a person was classified as transgender would give rise to “arbitrariness and lack of consistency”, instead of the “fair, clear, certain and objective” criteria sought by the authorities.

She added that only sexual reassignment surgery could make sure the decision to adopt a new gender was permanent and irreversible.

Tse, co-founder of Transgender Equality, held up a fake identity card, featuring his name and his gender marked as female, before entering the court to attend his hearing.

In previous hearings, lower courts have heard how he faced routine humiliation from bank tellers, service providers and law enforcement officers, while also choosing to avoid public toilets and changing facilities for fear of being stopped and questioned. But both the Court of First Instance and Court of Appeal ruled against him and “Q”.

Chief Justice Andrew Cheung Kui-nung and four other Court of Final Appeal justices – Roberto Ribeiro, Joseph Fok, Johnson Lam Man-hon and Jonathan Sumption – reserved ruling to a later day.
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.
×