Israel Approves LGBT To Change Gender on IDs Without Surgery

Approval committee will also no longer be able to demand that transgender people start hormone replacement therapy.

The Justice Ministry has approved new rules that will make it significantly easier for transgender people to change their gender on their identity cards, even if they haven’t undergone gender reassignment surgery.

The wait time for Health Ministry approval has been cut from two years to six months. But during this time, transgender individuals will still have to a prove to a ministry committee that they are living with a different gender identity. 

Protesters against anti-LGBTQ violence wave transgender pride flags in Tel Aviv, 2019.Meged Gozani

In another improvement, the committee will no longer be able to demand that transgender people start hormone replacement therapy to obtain its approval. Additionally, people will now be able to change the gender on their ID cards at age 16 rather than 18.

Until 2015, Israel permitted people to change their gender on their ID cards only after gender reassignment surgery. But following a petition by transgender women to the High Court of Justice, the state established a committee two years ago to consider requests by transgender people to alter their ID cards without an operation.

Even with the new rules, such a change will still require the committee’s approval. Over the past decade, several other countries – including Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Argentina and Pakistan – have started recognizing gender changes solely on the basis of the individual’s affidavit.

Nevertheless, the new rules will make the process significantly easier, and human rights organizations have been fighting for them for years. 

Despite specifying a wait time of six months before final approval to change their gender marker on ID cards, the new rules also allow the committee to shorten this time if it sees fit.