Vietnam recognizes transgender rights in breakthrough vote

By Anh Vu - Khanh An, Thanh Nien News

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A group of transgender people in Ho Chi Minh City launches a campaign in March to call for their rights. Photo: Khanh An A group of transgender people in Ho Chi Minh City launches a campaign in March to call for their rights. Photo: Khanh An

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Transgender people in Vietnam will be recognized under the law and have all relevant rights to their new gender, according to the Amended Civil Code passed by lawmakers on Tuesday.
Earlier on the same day, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee submitted a report on the issue, saying that gender reassignment should be allowed to "meet the demand of a group of citizens.”
The report discussed a range of issues including marital status and healthcare services for transgender people.
Nearly 90 percent of the assembly then voted in support for legalizing gender reassignment.
The Civil Code will take effect in 2017.
News about legal recognition for transgender people has widely spread on social networks.
“Congratulations to all of us, after years of sweat and tears,” said Tran Khang Di, a transgender man in Ho Chi Minh City.
Huynh Minh Thao of ICS, a Ho Chi Minh City-based network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, said his call for a large gathering on Tuesday night along Nguyen Hue Street has received many responses.
“In Hanoi, people have already gathered in large number to celebrate the event this afternoon,” he said.
Vietnam has been sending out mixed messages when it comes to rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
For instance, the country lifted a ban on same-sex marriage ceremonies early this year. However, the government has yet to offer gay couples real legal recognition.
Under a 2008 government decree, sex reassignment is strictly limited to only those without complete sex organs and those with both male and female sex organs. Procedures are only allowed at a few designated hospitals.
Officials have estimated that there are about 500,000 people nationwide whose assigned genders are incongruous with their gender identity.

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