In a groundbreaking decision, Hong Kong’s top court ruled on Monday that the policy of requiring full sex reassignment surgery for individuals seeking to change their gender on their identification cards violates their rights and is unconstitutional. The Court of Final Appeal delivered a unanimous ruling in favor of transgender activists Henry Tse and another appellant, known as “Q.”
The judges stated in their judgment that the policy places individuals in a difficult position, forcing them to choose between regular violations of their privacy rights or undergoing a highly invasive and medically unnecessary surgery that infringes upon their right to bodily integrity. The decision quashes the Commissioner of Registration’s previous decision to reject Tse and Q’s applications to change their gender on their Hong Kong Identity Cards.
Tse and Q underwent extensive medical and surgical treatments, including hormonal therapy and breast removal, yet the registrar still required them to undergo a full sex reassignment surgery, which they argued was unnecessary, unwanted, and highly invasive. Tse welcomed the decision as a step towards resolving the “burning issues” he faced due to possessing a misaligned ID and called for the creation of a gender recognition law.