HK transsexual loses nuptials case

2010-10-05 12:55

Hong Kong - A Hong Kong court ruled on Tuesday against allowing a marriage between a transsexual female and a man in a case that has tested the bounds of social tolerance and individual freedoms in the Chinese city.

In the verdict, the judge said a person had to have been a woman at birth to marry a man, but said also the ruling shouldn't be the decision of the courts alone.

The individual, referred to as W in court, was born male and underwent a sex change. While W's gender was reclassified on her Hong Kong identity card, her birth certificate wasn't and still describes W as a man.

Speaking after the ruling, W's lawyer said she'd appeal.

"She is determined to be treated as a woman and accorded the same rights as a woman," Michael Vidler told reporters.

Sex change right, marriage wrong

Government figures show that 12 people changed the gender classification on their identity cards last year and activists have long pushed the government to grant transsexuals all the rights that are accorded to people of their gender.

"She still cherishes the hope that she'll be able to marry her boyfriend. Maybe not today but in the near future and not after ten years of consultations, government procrastination or inactivity," Vidler added.

W criticised the Hong Kong government for allowing her sex change but denying her the right to marry her boyfriend.

"I am in love with him. Marriage is something to guarantee a relationship between a man and a woman," W told Cable Television in a telephone interview.

"This is a woman's right and I am a woman ... I feel the government is discriminating against us a little."

Lawyers said Hong Kong lagged other places like Singapore, China, South Korea and Japan which have allowed such unions.