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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 16, 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 16Mar01

By Kent Larsen

Transgendered Mormon Sues over Excommunication

HONG KONG, CHINA -- A woman who had a sex change operation and was subsequently excommunicated fro the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is fighting the Church's injunction to keep her out of LDS chapels in Hong Kong and has filed a counter-claim seeking her re-instatement. Jessica Park, who was known as Stewart J. C. Park before the operation, says that the LDS Church's Hong Kong International District excommunicated her in a "highly humiliating" and "painful" manner. The LDS Church's spokesman in Hong Kong was not available to make a statement to the South China Morning Post.

Park, who is in her 40s, says she runs a security company with offices across Asia and 5,000 customers. She is a former flight lieutenant in the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force, and has three children from a marriage prior to her operation. Her former wife and children now live in England.

The operation arose in response to a medical condition known as gender dysphoria, claims Park. She says that the illness has been recognized by England's Court of Appeals in a 1999 decision. Over two years ago Park began living as Jessica. Then in December 1999, local leaders called a special meeting at which her excommunication was announced to the congregation. "They said Brother Stewart was being excommunicated when I had been living as Jessica for over a year; it was extremely humiliating," she claimed. She had the final operation to complete her sex change in January last year.

Park's two-page writ, filed in Hong Kong's High Court yesterday, seeks unspecified damages for pain and suffering and her re-instatement into the Church. The writ claims, "the decision on 2nd December 1999 to excommunicate [Ms Park] from [the church] was illegal, null and void and/or was contrary to natural justice."

Park also claims that the church did not follow due process in her excommunication. "They insisted that I don't speak, don't take the sacrament, and I did so for 12 months, but then they decided to take out an injunction against me . . . because several members of the church were upset," she claimed.

The LDS Church's injunction, which seeks to bar her from setting foot on 22 LDS Church properties listed in the five-page document, was also filed yesterday. The South China Morning Post says that the document does not explain why the Church sought to bar her from the properties, and says that legal representatives of the Church would not comment.

While the LDS Church has not made any statements on this matter, information available to Mormon News indicates that sex-change operations have been prohibited in the Church's General Handbook of Instructions for over ten years.


Sex-change Mormon sues church
Hong Kong China South China Morning Post 16Mar01 N1
By Sara Bradford
I had been living as Jessica for over a year before they excommunicated me, says woman


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