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HK transgender woman sues for right to marry man

(Global Times)

11:29, April 18, 2013

A transgender woman who has been twice turned down by Hong Kong courts to have the right to marry her boyfriend took her case to the Court of Final Appeal, which predictably did not deliver a verdict on Tuesday, the Hong Kong-based Mingpao Daily reported.

The court case is the first of its kind in Hong Kong, where transsexual people are forbidden from obtaining a marriage license.

The woman, who the newspaper referred to only as Ms W, has twice lost her suit against the local civil administration, which refused to grant her and her boyfriend a marriage license some three years ago. The lower courts denied her the right to marry saying that marriage implies conceiving children.

Monica Carss-Frisk, the lawyer representing the marriage registration authority in Hong Kong, argued that marriage is between a natural-born man and a natural-born woman and granting a transgender a marriage license is no different than a same-sex marriage, which is outlawed, the news portal reported.

The woman's lawyer, David Pannick, argued that it's ridiculous that the law would allow his client to marry another woman even though she is one.

The trial sparked heated online discussion.

Peng Xiaohui, a sexologist with Central China Normal University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Chinese people's attitudes toward other people's sexual orientation are changing faster than the legal system.

"People with higher education tend to have more tolerance but there is a long way to go to change the discriminatory situation transsexuals face," Peng added.

While same-sex marriage is still not permitted on the mainland, heterosexual marriages involving a transgender partner are. The first transgender marriage on the Chinese mainland took place in Nanjing in May, 2009, the Jiangnan Times reported.

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