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Vietnam legalizes sex reassignment in landmark law

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A member of the LGBT community holds a flag of transgender people at a gathering of the community on the Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square in Hanoi to welcome the new legislation that recognizes the right to sex reassignment on November 24, 2015

With a majority of votes, Vietnam’s law-making National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday approved a revised law that includes a new provision of recognition of the right to sex reassignment, or become transgender, amid roaring applause by the LGBT community.

The amended Civil Code, with 689 articles, including the new ones on the protection of human rights, will take effect on January 1, 2017.

According to the revised law, considered landmark legislation, individuals who undergo transgender changes will have the right to register under their new gender with personal rights in accordance with their new sex, based on regulations of the code and other relevant laws.

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Chu Thanh Ha, who has changed her sex to become a man, is seen holding a board that says, “Cảm ơn Quốc hội” (Thank you, the National Assembly), in Hanoi on November 24, 2015

In a report related to this issue before the revised code was passed, the NA Standing Committee said transgenderism is a desire of many people at different ages and with different conditions of marital status and social security.

“The law of our country should recognize this issue to meet the demand of the population on the basis of conformity to the international practice and not running against our nation’s fine tradition and customs,” the report said.

After the NA passed the modified code, many homosexual and transgender people in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City took to the streets on Tuesday evening to applaud the new legislation.

“I have not been able to concentrate on work all day today. I watched the TV to keep up to date with developments related to sex reassignment at the NA meeting,” Chu Thanh Ha, who has changed her sex to become a man, said, holding up a board saying, “Cảm ơn Quốc hội” (Thank you, the National Assembly).

“At 11:30 am, when the right to be transgender was recognized, I felt very happy and my friends have since sent text messages to one another for mutual congratulations,” Ha said.

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Members of the LGBT community in Ho Chi Minh City put up flags and banners to welcome the new legislation

Ha was among the people who gathered on the Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square in Hanoi to welcome the new legislation, with many holding flags and boards that read, “Proud to be trans,” “We are history,” and “Today is the day.”

In Ho Chi Minh City, a lot of people flocked to pedestrian street Nguyen Hue in District 1 to show their support for the new law.

These people marched while raising flags of transgender people along with boards that read, “Cảm ơn Quốc hội,” “We support transgender,” and “It’s your rights to be you,” among others.

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