As a group standing against Gender Self-Identification in Taiwan, we would like you to be acknowledged the fact that if the Chinese word, “性別”, is translated into English, it could be “sex” or “gender” even if “sex and gender”. This ambiguity is not completely unresolvable; however, it has already been used by trans lobbies in their bargains with our government. For details, see: Taiwan’s Laws of Sex and Gender.
As for the following text, please notice that the Chinese word, “(法定)性別”, has been translated as “legal sex” rather than “legal gender”. According to our legal consultant, those Chinese legal terms are supposed to refer to “sex” in English. Based on this understanding, we also have translated another Chinese word, “身分證性別欄”, into “sex markers on ID cards” on the other web pages.
In 1988, Taipei Veterans General Hospital’s two psychiatrists, Rong-Guang Wen and Rong Feng, drafted the medical operations requirements for changing legal sex identity. One requirement was a sex reassignment surgery (SRS) including the removement of sex organs and construction of an artificial vagina/ penis.
From 1955, Taiwan’s skills of operating a SRS became more mature hence Taiwan’s transsexual people preferred to receiving their surgeries without traveling abroad. After years of discussion, the public sector and society of psychiatry came to a common conclusion on the pre-operative assessment of SRS:1
- The applicant must have primary transsexualism.
- The applicant must be get used to his/ her real-life test (RLT/ living full-time in the identified gender role) well for at least 2 years.
- The applicant must be supported his/ her parents and other family members.
- The applicant must belong to the 20-40 age group.
- The applicant’s intellectual function must be above the average range.
- The applicant’s motivation of receiving the surgery must not be other psychiatric disorders, psychopathy, and extreme psychological stress.
2008 The Ministry of the Interior’s Administrative Explanations of “The Requirements for Changing Legal Sex”
Since a SRS is expensive and risky to transsexual people, human rights organizations, social activists and the Ministry of Health and Welfare have worked together to renew the previous requirements imposed in 1988. In “The Requirements for Changing Legal Sex 2008”, “the removement of sex organs” has been kept whereas the making of an artificial vagina/ penis has been cancelled.
The Ministry of the Interior Domestic Affairs Administrative order #66240 of 2008:
Concerning to the sex changing requirements of department of domestic affairs reissue as followed, and will take effect in the next day:
- The applicant who wants to change the legal sex from female to male, should provide two certificates of diagnosis given by two psychiatrists as well as a certificate of diagnosis that the applicant has removed the female sex organs, including the breasts, uterus, and ovaries.
- The applicant who wants to change the legal sex from male to female, should provide two certificates of diagnosis given by two psychiatrists as well as a certificate of diagnosis that the applicant has removed the male sex organs, including the penis and testicles.
The Ministry of the Interior Domestic Affairs Administrative Interpretation #04286562 of 2017:
If the applicant has received a SRS in another nation, he/ she should provide a certificate of diagnosis made by any domestic medical organization. None of proof documents verified by any diplomatic embassy or mission of R.O.C. (Taiwan) is required.
2013 The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s “The Requirements for Changing Legal Sex Conference”
In Oct. 2013, The Presidential Office Human Rights Consultative Committee held a conference. It was decided that the Administrative Yuan, especially its subordinated departments, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Health and Welfare, should collaborate on the better policy of legal sex change.
On 9 Dec. 2013, the Ministry of Health and Welfare made a great leap on this issue: “The requirements for changing legal sex no longer include medical reports.” Namely, the certificates of diagnosis of gender dysphoria and completion of a SRS would not be required when applying for legal sex change.
After making this major decision, the Ministry of Health and Welfare issued official documents to the Taiwanese Society of Psychiatry (SOP) to seek their expert opinions. However, in Jan. 2014, the SOP published a statement on their official website. The title is “Claims and Standings on Legal Sex Change Issue”:
It is unrecommended that the certificates of diagnosis made by psychiatrists should serve as the only proof for one’s legal sex to be changed. It is recommended that our government should establish an exclusive institution for legal sex change issue; further, this organization should serve as the decision- maker for individuals’ legal sex change and legal rights.
- The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s meeting minutes on 9 Dec. 2013
- The SOP’s “Claims and Standings on Legal Sex Change Issue”
2014 Review of Taiwan’s Second Report on the Implementation of CEDAW: Point 34 from Conclusions and Recommendations of the Review Committee
The international review committee (IRC) suggested that our government should adopted The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s opinions based on the conference on 9 Dec. 2013. It was recognized that, “Gender recognition is a basic human right and one’s gender identity should be respected hence any forcing or requirement for removement of one’s sex organs is unnecessary.” The IRC further suggested that this discriminatory administrative order should be abolished.
2014 The Ministry of the Interior’s Subsequent Proposal for Amending Legal Requirements
The Office of the Interior has proposed that without medical diagnosis, the applicant who wants to change legal sex should be unmarried, childless, and evaluated by the consulting committee. However, transgender lobbies disagreed with this proposal. None of compromises was reached.
2021 The Taipei High Administrative Court’s Petition for a Constitutional Interpretation on GRA Issue
The Taipei High Administrative Court filed petition for a Constitutional Interpretation on 4 Dec. 2021 for “the Case of Yu-Hsun Wu vs. the Zhongzheng District Household Registration Office in Taipei”.
Taiwan’s current requirements for changing legal sex are:
- Two certificates of diagnosis made by two psychiatrists
- One certificate of diagnosis of the completion of a SRS (the removement of one’s sex organs)
The first point is the proof that the applicant suffers from gender dysphoria.
The main stream transgender rights lobbies like Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR) urge for the abolishment of the second point. They deem that the requirement for a SRS is compulsory and inhumane. Meanwhile, their long-term goal is gender self-identification (self-ID).
The full name of Self-ID is Gender Self-Identification. It is the concept that by “declaring to be another gender”, one can receive new legal documents as well as the rights to be treated as that gender.
The transgender rights activists who support Self-ID usually agree that:
- One’s sex is their privacy.
- One can ask for the rights and treatments based on their gender (identity) with the society and nation’s neglect of their sex.
- If anyone disagree to any above points, it is a discrimination against transgender people.
In Taiwan, the supporters of Self-ID such as Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR) aim at the legal sex change based on one’s self-declaration without providing any medical reports. This system can also be called as “Free Legal Sex Change” or “Unconditional Legal Sex Change”.
However, Self-ID is more than legal sex change. It is a concept of “self-declaration” which will influence the making of policies previously based on sex.
So far we do not have any demographic database of Taiwan’s transgender population.
What we can be sure about is Taiwan’s transsexual population. According to the statistics of the Ministry of the Interior, from 1998 to 2016, 666 people have applied for legal sex change with their certificates of diagnosis of the completion of a SRS (the removement of one’s sex organs).
However, according to Taiwan’s supporters of Self ID, at least 100,000 transgender people are waiting for their legal sex change. 2 Our view is that this number may be based on US’s researches on estimated transgender population. In the Executive Yuan’s “Seed Training for Gender Diversity and Protection of Their Rights”, some foreign researches on estimated transgender population are reviewed as the references for Taiwan. According to the William Institute’s database, based on the number of the US’s transgender population tracked from 2006 to 2016, approximately 0.39% of US population could be trans-identified. Therefore, in the Executive Yuan’s teaching material 1, if 0.39% of Taiwan’s population are trans-identified, then the number would be nearly 100,000.
In Taiwan, the supporters of GRA have claimed that about 1200,000 people would like to change their legal sex. 4 This number is based on the Mental Health Foundation’s survey in 2009: In Taiwan, 1600,000 are unsatisfied with their gender and 400,000 would like to change their gender (3.7% of females and 1.4% of males are in the latter group); therefore, after excluding 400,000 transsexuals from 1600,000 trans-identified people, we may have 1200,000 transgender people. 3