Two British judges have ruled that sanctuary should be granted in the country to a transgender Singaporean who has been recognised as a woman there.
The order was passed to protect the Singaporean from serving national service as a man.The woman would have had to perform 2 weeks of national service for the next 8 years if she returned. She would have faced time in prison and fine if she refused to serve as a reservist.
The 33-year-old who was not named to protect her identity decided against having the full gender reassignment procedure, but has been living as a woman for the last 10 years.
She had served as a full-time national serviceman between Dec 2001 and June 2004. She recounted her NS experience as being ‘uncomfortable’ and left to Britain to pursue further education in 2004.
Arguing against the transgender woman, the British Home Office said she should be sent back to Singapore as any discrimination would not amount to serious harm to her.
The law firm representing the woman said:
“We are pleased that the plight of this transgender woman has been resolved successfully. It means she can now enjoy living a full life without any compromise to her gender identity or her personal integrity. This is a basic right denied to her in Singapore.”
Women in Singapore, including transgender women who have undergone reassignment surgery, are not expected to participate in military service.
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