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Transgender People Can Change Gender on Legal Documents in 2017

As of January 1, 2017, transgender people who have undergone sex reassignment surgery will have the right to change their gender on legal documents.

According to VnExpress, a series of amendments to the country’s Civil Code will go into effect in the new year, including an article focused on legal name changes for transgender citizens, provided they have had a sex reassignment procedure.

While this is a positive step forward for LGBT rights in Vietnam, access to sex reassignment surgery in Vietnam remains restricted. According to VnExpress, a 2008 government decree only grants permission for the procedure to those who were born with incomplete sex organs or those born with both male and female sex organs.

However, there is the possibility of greater legal protection of LGBT rights on the horizon. A recent article in Phap Luat highlighted the government’s current commitment to further expanding transgender rights in the coming years. Though there are not yet specific details about the proposed transgender rights law, a draft of the legislation is currently being developed by the Ministry of Health and is expected to go before the National Assembly in 2019 or 2020.

“This legislation should specify the personal rights of transgender people under the law to guarantee the rights of transgender people," former Deputy Minister of Justice Dinh Trung Tung told Phap Luat.

Though the legal progress of Vietnam’s LGBT rights has slowed a bit since the 2015 elimination of the ban on same-sex marriage, attitudes among the general public continue to change. This shift is, at least in part, the result of increased visibility of Vietnam’s LGBT community. Earlier this year, Viet Pride held its annual parade in Hanoi for the fifth year running, along with over 30 similar events nationwide.

Over the summer, Vietnam also backed a UN watchdog dedicated to improving LGBT rights around the world.

[Photo via South China Morning Post]

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