When it comes to ‘Marriage’ in Hong Kong, we all comprehend that is limited to heterosexual. However, of late, there have been a growing concern regarding transsexual marriage. Transsexual is defined as a person who “has sex re-assignment (SRS), involving hormone treatment and irreversible surgery, conducted by appropriately qualified medical practitioners” (Chisholm, 2001). People would like to change their sex and be able to have SRS because they suffer from gender identity disorder. It is disease that an individual who has “a strong and persistent cross-gender identification” and “a persistent discomfort with his or her sex” (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p. 581). In fact, Hong Kong government admits transgender are ‘men’ or ‘women’ after having SRS through the change of gender on Hong Kong identity card. Moreover, the society requires heterosexual marriage, and I agree with an opinion that “whether a person is a man or woman is to be determined as at the date of the marriage, not as birth.” (Chisholm, 2001) There is no way to ban the legalization of transsexual marriage, therefore. Transsexual should never be discriminated against, and they deserve the right to pursue their marriage. Furthermore, inability of having babies should not be a reason to ban transsexual marriage. Transsexual deserve the basic human right to have marriage like the others. Most importantly, transsexual and those who born to be man, or woman are both requiring heterosexual marriage. Actually, there is a Catch-22 in transsexual marriage. First, Hong Kong government admits heterosexual marriage. Desire to have heterosexual marriage which is accepted by society is one of the reasons why gender identity disorder patients want to change his/her sex, but the society does not accept this heterosexual marriage because he/she is transgender. This means transgender can never possess a normal life as the others. However, transsexual just ask for a simple marriage like the others to express their love. HK government would change transsexual's sex on their identity card but deny their gender when they want to marry. “The government has recognized the rights of transgender people by having in place for years a system of gender support and the provision of sex reassignment surgery. Yet on the other hand, they want to stop a person who has been living as a woman for several years- with their help and assistance - enjoying the same rights as other women.” (Vidler, 2010, p. A3) It is big and unnecessary self-contradictory of what government is doing indeed. Transsexual people can find jobs, go to the toilets with their current gender, but especially except marriage. The government confuses the public that whether transgender should enjoy the right of pre-SRS or pro-SRS regarding marriage. Transsexual people are legally recognized men and women but the government still treats them as different from the others and shatters their dream of possessing the human right they deserve. In Hong Kong, when people want to get married, their sexes are determined as the date of birth but not as the date they marry. However, I do think there is a need to redefine what man or woman is, like the opposite of what Marriage Ordinance’s declaration, in pursuance of letting transsexual enjoy the right of their existing gender to get married. Never can we discriminate against transgender, a group of patients, recovered from gender identity disorder. On the other hand, we should obtain them help to have marriage like others. As what I clarified at the beginning, gender identity disorder is a disease. Having sex re-assignment is a type of medicine for the patients who spent a lot of time, money recovering, and trying to possess a normal life as the others. However, they are fighting an uphill battle because the government takes few measures to help them. Nowadays, there are some mechanisms helping ex-mentally ill people to get back to society owing to respect and love. Dreadfully, the government not only refuses to help transgender who are also recovered patients like ex-mentally ill people to have the human right as ordinary people, but also discriminate against them by disapproving their marriage. Here is a case in Australia to show what is the respect to transgender. Australia government made the approval of marriage of Kevin and Jennifer because a lot of factors supporting them. According to Chisholm (2001), Kevin, has always reckoned himself to be a male, who has undergone a full process of transsexual. Most significantly, at the time of marriage, no matter in look, characteristics and behavior, he was recognized as a man, and accepted as a man by his work colleagues, friends, and family. Etc. Hence, Australia government admitted that Kevin is a ‘real’ man and respected him and Jennifer by approving the marriage. This case is to prove that when a transgender shows that he/she is man or woman mentally and physically, he/she has to be respected and treated equally. The first thing people have to do to show the respect is admit their existing gender, next is to approve transsexual marriage. I am totally unconvinced that inability to have babies is a reason to deter transgender from getting married. Marriage Ordinance claims “marriage must be between man and woman so that they can give birth to babies.” (Lee, 2010, para 9) It is the main reason why society bans homosexual and transsexual marriage, however, this thought is totally outdated. Nowadays, there are many couples refusing to have babies even they are able to so. Nevertheless, the government will never disapprove this type of couple’s marriage since it is couple’s choice about whether give birth to babies. Therefore, it is just a same case with transsexual marriage, when the government legally admits he or she is man or woman who requires for heterosexual marriage, they can have ordinary marriage even they cannot have babies. If inability or unwillingness to have babies is a reason to prohibit marriage, a serious decline of marriage is inevitable. It is too ridiculous and outrageous to persuade people to accept this reason to criticize transsexual marriage. Transsexual people need a tremendous amount of courageous to have irreversible sex-reassignment surgery. We should understand clearly that is their choices and try to respect them. Transgender should still possess the human right as usual, like the basic one, marriage. There is no way to prejudice them but treat them as recovered patients, and fight for the right they have. And failure to have babies should not be a reason to reject their marriage because that is not such a big problem in current society. People who are from all walks of life should deserve to have the same human right, transgender also. In order to develop a much harmonious and more equal world, the government should no longer turn a deaf ear to their need. On the contrary, legalizing the transsexual marriage is the surefire way to go.
Chisholm, J. (2001, October 12). IN RE KEVIN (VALIDITY OF MARRIAGE OF TRANSSEXUAL) HEADNOTE. Retrieved from http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/family_ct/2001/1074.html
American Psychiatric Association. (2000)
Niall, F. (2010, August 8). I want to marry my boyfriend, says woman who was a man, p. 3A.
MingSun, L. (2010, October 12). Whether transsexual marriage should be legalized. Hong Kong CD. Retrieved from http://www.hkcd.com.hk/content/2010-10/12/content_2611996.htm