In a huge win for LGBTQ+ rights, a Taiwan court has thrown out its gender reassignment surgery requirement for trans individuals. 

The decision was the result of a lawsuit filed by Xiao E, who was denied the right to change her gender on her national ID card. 

Under the archaic legislation, transgender people were required to surgically remove their reproductive organs in order to legally change their gender. 

The Taipei High Administrative Court ruled the requirement was unconstitutional on Thursday (23 September). 

They also cited that the plaintiff had provided the necessary requirements to undergo the process of legally changing her name without being subjected to surgery. 

Unfortunately, this ruling will only effect Xiao E. Other trans individuals looking to legally change their gender – without “proof of surgery” – will have to wait for the regulations to be revised or pursue legal action.

E-Ling Chiu, director of Amnesty International Taiwan, praised the court’s decision while urging the the Ministry of Interior to abolish the requirement. 

“The court’s decision to waive compulsory surgical requirements for people seeking gender affirmation is a landmark moment for transgender rights in Taiwan,” Chiu said. 

“Trans people in Taiwan face discrimination and inequality in the legal system and in their daily lives, especially in the workplace and in school.

“Self-determined gender is a cornerstone of a person’s identity, and this ruling highlights the advancement of gender equality and human rights in Taiwan.”

Chui continued: “We now call on the Ministry of Interior to follow up on this ruling by abolishing the requirement of reproductive organ removal surgery as a proof for those who wish to change their gender as registered at birth by the government.

“The Taiwanese government must offer options that protect gender equality for trans and non-binary people who wish to affirm their gender, in line with international human rights laws and standards.”

This landmark case isn’t the first time that the harmful rule was called out. 

Back in 2015, The High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report that recommend the country remove its surgery requirement. 

Instead they suggested that legal gender recognition be based on self-determination, a simple administrative process, cost-free and accessible.

Taiwan is also just one of the many places that require trans people to provide “proof of surgery.”

There are currently eight US states and two US territories that enforce the same requirement.

Japan also conducts the same policy and even dismissed a case challenging the harmful legislation in 2019.