Feminist Writing. Fourth Wave. For Women.

Court Approves First "Female to Male" Self-ID in Taiwan

This marks the second case of self-identification, and first 'female to male’ self-ID, in Taiwan.

Yesterday morning, the Taipei High Administrative Court announced that a female plaintiff, who sued the Department of Household Registration for denying her request to change her legal sex marker to 'male,' has been granted permission to make the change. This decision allows her to update her registration without needing any medical certificate or prerequisite surgeries. Traditionally, in Taiwan, changing an individual’s sex on a national identification card required applicants to provide a diagnosis certificate from two psychiatrists and a certificate from a qualified medical institution confirming the completion of gender reassignment surgery.

This marks the second case of self-identification,  and the first 'female to male’ self-ID, in Taiwan.

The woman, living in Taipei, applied to change her registered sex from female to male two years ago. The Household Registration Office rejected her application because she had not undergone sex reassignment surgery. She filed an administrative lawsuit, becoming the first case in Taiwan where an individual sought to change their registration from female to male without surgery. Today, the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled in her favor, requiring the Household Registration Office to change her registration and identification to male. The decision can be appealed.

This is the second case of self-ID being allowed in Taiwan, the first having occurred on September 23, 2021, when the Taipei High Administrative Court issued a ruling allowing a trans-identified male calling himself “Xiao E (小E)” to change his legal sex to female without sex reassignment surgery.

During the recent elections in Taiwan, the country’s first trans-identified male politician, Abbygail ET Wu (吳伊婷) pledged to fight to remove the barriers of undergoing sex-change surgery placed on those wanting to change their sex legally. He argues for intact males to be able to change their sex marker on all forms of identification at will, and for them to be allowed into female spaces.

In 2022, scholars working at various universities across Taiwan conducted an online questionnaire survey, sought to understand the general public’s views on self-identification, meaning surgery-free change of legal sex,  in Taiwan. The questionnaire had a sample size of more than 10,000 people, and the survey report has been published in the academic journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. Poll results show that more than 90% of Taiwanese people strongly oppose changing someone’s legal sex without so-called sex reassignment surgery.

Those concerned about the encroachment of gender identity ideology have formed No Self ID Taiwan, the main organization leading the growing opposition movement against self-ID in Taiwan.

A flyer in Taiwan reads: “Did you know… The first woman with a penis has appeared in Taiwan? And he is able to enter women’s bathrooms, dorms, changing rooms, hot springs… etc.”

Jaclynn Joseph is a Hawai’i born — now Taiwan based — PhD student and university lecturer.