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Charles Mok@ Marriage Amendment Bill 2014 – Second Reading (2014.10.22)

2014-10-22

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Mr President, on October 2, there was a event held in Hong Kong – “High Level Roundtable on Gender Identity, Rights and the Law” – which was organized by the Center for Comparative and Public Law of the University of Hong Kong and the United Nations Development Program, among others, and the event was well attended by medical and legal professionals, transgender persons and activists, NGO workers, academics and educators, etc.

At the end of the conference, there were ten key messages coming out as a result of the conference. And I want to read out these messages so that we can enter these messages into our council’s record, and to give a more global perspective to our discussion.

These ten key messages are:

1. Gender recognition, in documents and in law, is important for transgender people.

2. Without such recognition, it is difficult or impossible to enjoy the rights and opportunities available to other people in one’s society.

3. Failure to extend recognition is a rights issue, and has consequences for transgender people’s health and wellbeing.

4. Onerous preconditions for recognition (depriving many transgender people of opportunities to be recognized in their experienced gender) run counter to international rights norms and state commitments under key international conventions. They also make no sense on health grounds.

5. Medical preconditions, involving surgery (including sterilization surgery) and hormones are particularly problematic, on the grounds that they serve to coerce people into undergoing medical procedures. Some of those procedures are invasive, complex, and often beset with complications. They may be medically inadvisable for some transgender people.

6. We endorse recent calls by influential voices in health and rights (WHO, UNDP, OHCHR, UN Women, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, OSF, WPATH, Amnesty International, and the American Medical Association) for more progressive policies on gender recognition for transgender people.

7. We endorse the Global Commission on HIV and the Law’s recommendations related to transgender people and calling on countries to: (a) stop punishing transgender people for being who they are. Instead, repeal laws that criminalize behaviors associated with transgender identity and amend anti-discrimination laws to explicitly include gender identity, non-conforming gender status, and sexual orientation; (b) ensure that transgender people have access to health care supplies and services (including preventive services) in non-discriminatory environments, as well as access to health care personnel trained to respond to their unique medical and health needs; (c) remove existing barriers (whether legal, administrative, or regulatory) that prohibit transgender and people of non-conforming gender status from forming public community organizations and associations; (d) recognize and respect existing civil and religious laws and practices that support individual privacy; and (e) change laws and administrative policies to enable transgender people to obtain identification documents that reflect their lived gender, whether or not they have undergone any gender-related medical procedures…

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Office Of Hon. Charles Mok, Legislative Councillor (IT)