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
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