Vietnam: Trans woman to lose official legal recognition

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The only Vietnamese transgender person to have her gender reassignment officially recognised has heard that the decision will be revoked and she will once again be officially considered male.

According to Thanhnien News, Pham Le Quynh Tram had her name and gender change recognised in 2009 by the Chon Thanh District, after undergoing surgery.

Her official recognition meant that Tram’s official documents such as passport and driver’s license stated her gender as female.

However, last week the People’s Committee of Binh Phuoc ordered the local Department of Justice to revert to considering her as a man and using her male birth name, Pham Van Hiep.

On hearing of the decision Ms Tram said: “I was deeply shocked. I could not sleep. Four years since I changed my name and re-defined my sex, I have done nothing wrong nor lost the virtue of a Vietnamese woman.”

The Committee argued that Tram’s surgery flouted a law that makes gender reassignment surgery illegal after puberty, and that as the surgery took place in Thailand rather than at an authorised Vietnamese hospital it should not be recognised.

They also said that the officials who recognised her gender in 2009 should be penalised.

“I don’t know why they want to revoke the decision that recognized me as female,” said Ms Tram.

“I’m intersex so I am allowed to redefine my sex in accordance with the government’s Decree No 88.”

Tram described the recognition of her gender as “the best time” of her life.

“I was very sad to hear that things will go back to as before,” she said.