The Taipei High Administrative Court on Thursday issued a rare ruling ordering a household registration office in Taiwan to allow a transgender woman to alter the gender specified on her identity card.
In the case in question, Taoyuan's Daxi District Household Registration Office denied the application of the transgender woman, who identifies herself as "Xiao E (小E)," to change the gender indicated on her ID card in October 2019.
The office based its decision on a directive issued by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) in 2008, which states that applications for a change in a person's gender on his or her ID card will not be permitted unless the applicant provides medical certificates indicating that he or she has been diagnosed as having gender dysphoria and has conducted a sex change operation.
While Xiao E submitted certificates issued by two separate psychiatric institutes that diagnosed her as having a gender identity as female, she did not provide proof of a sex reassignment surgery.
After she appealed to the Taoyuan City government, which oversees the household registration office, without success, she decided to take her case to court last year.
In its ruling, the administrative court cited the Constitution as stating that all freedoms and rights that are not detrimental to social order or public welfare shall be guaranteed.
The court also cited past constitutional interpretations as saying that any restrictions on people's rights must be provided in a law.
Therefore, it reasoned that since matters relating to changing gender markers on identity documents concern the fundamental rights of the people, it has to adhere to the Constitution.
It added that because Xiao E has provided medical diagnosis and other evidence demonstrating that she has long recognized herself as a woman, the court is obliged to provide corresponding protection to her right.
However, the court also recommended Taiwan's legislature pass new legislation to ensure this right is protected, as the MOI directive may still be applied by other household registration offices to similar cases in the future.
The Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, a group that promotes gender equality, commented on Friday that the ruling is unprecedented and it urged the Taoyuan City government not to file an appeal.
Read full article: https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202109240019