A group of transgender activists staged a demonstration outside the Immigration Department on Friday, demanding the government comply with a court ruling regarding rules on changing a person’s gender on their ID card.
The rally coincided with the annual International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31.
In early February, the Court of Final Appeal found the government was wrong to insist that gender markers on ID cards cannot be changed unless the applicant has undergone full sex reassignment surgery.
But the activists said since the ruling, applications for such ID card changes have been suspended, with the department saying it is carrying out a review of the relevant policy.
"I knew [the court ruling] was a staged win from the start, but I didn't expect that the government would be so shameless in that they are using these dirty means to postpone things," said Henry Tse, one of two transgender men who were behind the legal action.
Tse, who is still waiting to have his ID card changed to state that he is a man, told RTHK that the suspension in applications is prolonging the difficulties faced by transgender people in Hong Kong.
"For myself, I encounter problems when I use the bank. The bank staff won't believe that the person on the ID card is me, even though I look exactly the same. It has my name and everything... I'm outed every time I show my ID," he said.
"I have problems when I go to the hospital, to the dentist, even [when] I use the public bathroom. It will be illegal for me to use the male bathroom and the female bathroom. I'm still a second-class citizen."
Tse said the group hopes the government will announce its new policy in the coming weeks and that it complies with international law and human rights standards.
In response to an RTHK enquiry, the Immigration Department said it is still in the process of reviewing its policies.
“The Government is reviewing the relevant policies and administrative measures in the light of the said judgment and strive to complete the review within a reasonable period,” the department said.
“In the meantime, we are actively processing the applications for changing the sex entry on the identity cards from individuals who have completed full sex reassignment surgery.”
Last updated: 2023-03-31 HKT 21:18