Trans* people in Israel can now change their gender designation on identity cards without actually having a sex-change operation.
The new rules come into effect following a Supreme Court ruling in January that allowed two transgender Israelis to change their gender on their cards without medical intervention.
The two had filed a petition against the Interior Ministry’s demand that they undergo sex-change surgery as a condition for altering the gender on their identity cards. Both were allowed to change their names but not their gender designation, reported haaretz.com.
One of the petitioners was a lawyer who was born male and up until two years ago lived as a man, and was married to a woman. The other woman served until recently as an Israel Defense Forces soldier.
During her service she began the process of transitioning from a man into a woman and the army agreed to recognize her as a woman, approving relevant hormonal treatments and wearing a female soldier’s uniform.
The two said they were not interested in sex reassignment surgery, and that the Interior Ministry requiring them to do so was unreasonable.
This particular case had caused some furor between the Interior Ministry, Health Ministry and Justice Ministry. Officials from these ministries had to meet to come to a consensus and resolve the issue.
Health Ministry officials cited how other countries have recognized how a trans* person’s gender could be determined even without sex-change surgery. The Interior Ministry then had to make changes to the existing procedure.
“Under the new procedure, the existing Health Ministry committee that approves sex-change operations will set the criteria for determining a non-surgical sex change and examine the changes an applicant has undergone without the surgery. Certification by the sex-change committee will be sufficient for changing one’s designation in the population registry, reported haaretz.com.
Although Israel has some of the most pro LGBT laws and bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as elsewhere in Asia social discrimination against the LGBT community does persist.
According to a recent survey trans* people bear the brunt of discrimination in the community, reporting higher incidents of discrimination than the rest of the community in every level.