Friday, February 20, 2009

China's Transgender Community

Since the turn of the 21st century, China has begun making another 'Great Leap Forward' in terms of modernization and putting itself in the world's spotlight.

We got a glimpse of just how much it has progressed during the recently concluded Beijing Games, and its space program continues to take giant leaps as well toward their ultimate goal of becoming the second nation to put a man on the moon.

One interesting thing that has come to light is that China, like 'errbody' else on our planet, has an estimated 400,000 transgender people in their midst. Over 1000 of them have had surgery, and we in the West have been getting introduced to them and their stories as well.

It's not unusual now to Google 'china transsexuals' and see many links to various stories about transpeople in China. But all Chinese transsexuals probably owe a major debt to internationally acclaimed dancer Jin Xing. Her struggles and eventual SRS in 1995 basically opened the door that has made life easier for other transpeople across China to follow.

Chinese society has become more open and tolerant towards transsexuals to the point where in 2004, Chen Lili won the Miss China Universe pageant and was poised to become the first transgender contest in the 50 plus year history of the event that was being staged in Ecuador that year. But rules were quickly passed limiting the event to cisgender women and Chen was barred from participating.

Maybe the Donald should rethink that ban. Some of the biggest traffic days I get on TransGriot is when I post video or photos from various transgender pageants around the world.

As the examples of Jin Xing and Chen Lili show, Chinese transpeople are being fully integrated into society. They can now change their ID cards without hassles, their civil rights are protected by law, and after they have surgery can get married and have those marriages recognized by the state as valid.

They are examples that the rest of the judgmental Western world would do well to emulate, especially in my own country.

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