Ministry of Health weighs up possibility of official acknowledgment for those who have undergone gender reassignment.
Mr. Nguyen Huy Quang, Head of the Legal Department at the Ministry of Health (MoH), has said that the ministry is currently finalizing suggestions on the draft amended Civil Code, which includes sections on transgendered people.
Prepared by the National Assembly and distributed for comment, the draft amended Civil Code presents two alternatives. One is a prohibition on and absence of acknowledgement of transgendered people, as has been the case until now. The second is permitting gender reassignment in certain special cases and granting acknowledgement of their gender status.
“The MoH does not yet have any official documents on the matter but I personally favor the plan to acknowledge transgendered people,” Mr. Quang said. “Over the past few years the law has prohibited it but these people have still undergone surgery to change their gender.” Figures, he added, indicate there are about 500,000 Vietnamese people whose physical appearance does not match their actual gender.
About 500 to 1,000 Vietnamese people have gone overseas to have the necessary surgery. This is not only costly but also leads to many surgical procedures being performed at unlicensed facilities, which can be risky. When returning to Vietnam these people also have problems with their identify card, passport, driver’s license, and other forms of ID.