Vietnam transgender woman to lose official recognition

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Vietnam's first and only transgender person whose new sex was officially recognized is set to lose that privilege after the Ministry of Justice pointed out that it flouts a law prohibiting gender reassignment if sexual organs are fully developed.

The People's Committee of the southern province of Binh Phuoc has ordered the local Department of Justice to rescind two decisions made by the Chon Thanh District administration in 2009 to recognize Pham Van Hiep's new gender and name after the 39-year-old became a woman following surgery in Thailand.

It also ordered related agencies to penalize the officials who approved them.

The district vice chairman, Trinh Dinh Khan, had signed off on the decisions.

But Vo Sa, the district chairman, has said the decisions were made following proper procedures, which included a request from the person, confirmation by the Binh Phuoc General Hospital, and green light from the district's legal officials.

Hiep told Thanh Nien he has had the "best time" of his life after his sex reassignment was officially recognized.

"I was very sad to hear that things will go back to as before."

A 2008 survey by the Ministry of Health found that around 7,000 people in Vietnam were unclear about their gender identity.

Many of them had wanted to move to Chon Thanh District to have their reassigned sex recognized, but they were not allowed.

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