In what could become a landmark case, the Supreme Court has begun debating whether transgender people should be required to undergo gender affirmation surgery in order to legally change their gender.

On Wednesday, the court’s Grand Bench heard the case of a transgender woman challenging a law that says only individuals who undergo sterilization surgery and lose their reproductive functions can have their gender changed in their family registry.

If the court deems as unconstitutional the surgery requirement for a gender change — which has been condemned both at home and abroad as inhuman and unnecessary — it is expected to pave the way for an amendment of the law to put it on par with global standards.