New Passports Recognizing Third Gender Might Be Coming Soon To Taiwan
by Heather Cassell
More freedoms might be coming to Taiwan following last year’s Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling, now advocates and government officials are championing a third gender option on government-issued identification cards and passports, an official said Tuesday.
Janet Chang, deputy spokeswoman of the cabinet, said officials are studying a proposal to add a third gender category to boost recognition of transgender and non-binary people for the self-ruling Southeast Asian island country, January 16.
“The government is actively assessing this proposal but has yet to make a final decision,” Janet wrote in an email to the Thomson Reuters Foundation from the capital, Taipei.
“The proposed policy is aimed at protecting the human rights of transgender people,” she added.
The country’s gay and lesbian community has been embraced by the people, but transgender and non-binary gender people still struggle with discrimination in employment and accessing public services.
“Adding a third gender option would show our diversity,” said Olivia Tsai, a representative of Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association.
However, she cautioned, “Individuals, however, must have the freedom to choose whether they want to be identified in a third gender and should not be labeled automatically by the government.”
There is no official government census on the number of LGBTQI Taiwanese, but the association estimates there are more than two million queer people in Taiwan.
If passed, Taiwan will join Australia, Canada, India, Nepal, New Zealand, and Pakistan identifying gender variant individuals on passports.
Citizens in these countries can choose between binary – female or male – or non-binary – “x” or “o” – when registering for their passports.
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