HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s high court ruled Monday that full sex reassignment surgery should not be a prerequisite for transgender people to change their gender on their official identity cards, in a move likely to have a powerful in the transgender community. .

A transgender activist, Henry Edward Tse, and a person identified only as Q appealed to the court last month over the government’s refusal to change the genders on their ID cards because of their decision not to undergo full sex reassignment surgeries. .

Tse and Q are transgender men who had their breasts removed, received hormone treatments, and lived their lives as men with professional support and guidance, as well as psychiatric treatment.

The Court of Final Appeals ruling is expected to have a wide impact on the LGBTQ community because many of its transgender members consider the operation unnecessary and risky.

The two went to court because existing government policy allows transgender men to change their official gender only if they have had their uterus and ovaries removed and male genitalia constructed. Only those who cannot undergo the surgical procedures for medical reasons can be exempt.

Both the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal dismissed the judicial review proceedings initiated by Tse and Q. Both were allowed to go to the Court of Final Appeal.

In a ruling made public on Monday, the court said the government’s policy was unconstitutional and imposed an «unacceptably heavy burden.» They also said the policy was «disproportionate» in its encroachment on the rights of the two to gender identity and physical integrity.

The judges also said that any administrative issues that often arise tend to relate to a transgender person’s outward appearance, rather than the appearance of their genital area, and that leaving the gender on their identity document unchanged «caused further confusion or embarrassment.» ”.

Tse welcomed the ruling, saying that many transgender people have yearned for «ultimate victory» for years.

“Now that I have a male ID card, it will be much easier for me to access gender-segregated spaces,” she said. «They would not question me or humiliate me if they denounced me for my identification that is incongruent with who I am.»

Liam Mak, co-founder and chairman of local transgender youth organization Quarks, described the win as a «major milestone» for the transgender community in Hong Kong.

“We believe that one’s gender identity should not be tied to medical intervention, we must ensure minimal or no medical intervention in politics,” Mak said. «Since each individual has different preferences or decisions in their own gender transition journey, I hope the government references the court’s advice to protect the right of all transgender people.»