Being a transgender in China

Being a transgender in China


At home her son still calls her daddy, at work she dresses in a masculine style, but this Chinese person has a “little secret” — she was born male, but is not any more.She had long identified as a woman, and suffered from depression after starting a family, opting in the end to have a surgical sex change.”I had wanted to kill myself, but then I decided I should do something — if I die, I’d rather die on the operation table,” she adds.Chinese society remains deeply traditional in many respects so in public she still has to hide her new identity and does not want her name or occupation revealed, for fear of the consequences.”It will be very easy to find me, and I might lose my job,” she explained.US-based NGO Asia Catalyst estimates there are four million transgender people in China, and says they face severe discrimination.Sexually ambiguous characters have a long history in Chinese art and literature, but being transgender is still classified as a mental illness in the country –homosexuality was removed from the category in 2001 –although sex reassignment surgery is legal.Those who come out as transgender to their families risk being rejected or forced to marry and have children.

“I married my wife when I still had a man’s body, thinking I could live with her without changing myself physically,” AFP’s interviewee said.”My wife did not mind my identifying as female. She is from a small town.
Our personalities do not match well, but we both wanted to get married.”She says she did not want to become a father but her family persuaded her to have a child, and the couple have not separated since her surgery for the sake of their son.”I tell my nine-year-old boy: ‘Daddy has a little secret — daddy is not a man,'” she said. “He is not yet old enough to feel confused about this.”


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