Transgender woman faces rejection, to sue
Updated : 01/25/2013 16:57 GMT + 7
Vietnam’s first recognized transgender woman Pham Le Quynh Tram said she will appeal against a decision to revoke a verdict that recognized her as a woman a few years ago.
However, on January 21, the Binh Phuoc province’s People’s Committee concluded that recognition is illegal and proposed the sex-redefining decision be revoked.
“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,” said Tram, adding she wants justice.
Tram said that before the sex change, she was surrounded by serious discrimination.
“People knocked on my door rudely and threw rocks at my house when I was sleeping inside and nobody dared drink my glass of water but I still stood firm in the face of difficulties,” she said.
The transgender woman also revealed that all of her personal papers including passport, ID card, land and house ownership certificates, and driving licenses have been updated with her new name and her new sex, so revoking the 2009 recognition would mess up her life.
“I don’t know why they want to revoke the decision that recognized me as female. I’m inter-sex so I am allowed to re-define my sex in accordance with the government’s Decree No 88,” Tram said.
Tram told Tuoi Tre she has “enough evidence” to prove she is a “real woman”.
According to lawyer Nguyen Huu The Trach, those who want to re-define their sex have to comply with two conditions: first, they get examined by a province or city-level medical council’ second, they undergo a transgender surgery at an authorized hospital.
Pham Le Quynh Tram
Since Tram underwent a transgender operation at a hospital in Thailand [which was not authorized by the Vietnamese government], the decision to legally recognize Tram as a woman issued by the People’s Committee of Chon Thanh district three years ago was against the law, the lawyer explained.
According to Dr. Tu Phuong Nam, director of Binh Phuoc General Hospital, Dr. Hoang Ngoc Hai of the Gynecology Department confirmed that “Tram has female sex organs including the vulva and vagina that look like those of a real woman”.
Hai’s confirmation was based on the conclusion by Dr. Thep Vechavisit at the Pratunam clinic in Thailand that read: “I hereby certified that on April 24 2008, I performed a transgender and breast implant surgery on Pham Van Hiep (her male name). Now, his sex organs look like a woman’s.”
Quynh Tram said she was born with both male and female organs but was defined as a boy. “When I reached puberty, my body changed into a woman. My breasts kept growing. I was very frightened and did not tell anyone. I tried to hide it by eating a lot to gain weight,” she said.
In 2006, medical tests showed that she had high female hormone volumes and female characteristics in her sexual organs so, doctors advised her to go to Thailand for a transgender operation.In mid-2008, she underwent a successful surgery in Thailand. She is now working as a math, physics and chemistry teacher in Ho Chi Minh City.