Not surprised at this, China’s human rights record is dismal, perhaps the UK should start manufacturing here, giving our unemployed work, instead of importing goods from China. Obama and Cameron should give more support to the LGBT people living in China.
What surprises me is that someone was able to get sex reassignment surgery in China in 1996. I wouldn’t have thought such a repressive and powerfully conventional state would have enabled such a thing.
I wander if she was in Hong Kong (then British)?
There’s quite a detailed biography here:
The operation took place in Beijing. – “I refused to have the operation in another country. My rebirth cannot take place anywhere in the world but China,”
And in a totally secular state, too.
Since they control all the religious appointments, as the UK does with the Head of the Anglican Church, it can’t be said to be totally secular, don’t you think?
Cearly, the commentors here know very little about China. If anything, China should be lecturing us on how to treat LGBT. In China, gay bashings do not occur, no one is called a fag walking down the street. Gay people in China do not living in fear like many still do in the West. Of course, homophobia in China exists, and there are few if any legal protections afforded to LGBT in that country, but it is a better place to live for LGBT than the West in general.
According to a prominent Chinese sexologist and sociologist, China will likely legalize gay marriage by the decade’s end.
Now, that may surprise those who read this. But, despite China’s human rights record in other areas (as if we in the free West don’t have our own human rights issues – of course, we would never label then as such), it treats its gay people incredibly well. All you have to do is go there for yourself to see.
I disagree. It’s true that China is certainly not the worst country when it comes to LGBT rights, and that violent crimes against LGBT people is rather rare in China, but frankly there is a lot more to LGBT rights than just “the right to live”. Employment discrimination is rampant in China, and if one is openly LGBT, it is likely that one will never be able to acquire a job in China. Not to mention the social stigmatisation an openly LGBT person would receive from one’s own families. There is only one area in which China beats the West when it comes to LGBT rights: the rate of hate crime is much lower in China. But if China is so LGBT-friendly, explain to me why is it that I still cannot tell my parents my sexuality and gender identity, whereas my European and American friends don’t have to worry about such things? (My family came from mainland China and I was born in mainland China)
Cyan I somewhat agree with you about people’s perceptions of China, however you seem to think that homosexuals are the same as trans men and women.
Homophobia and transphobia are separate issues, just because we tend to lump the L, the G, the B and the T all together doesn’t mean we all the same.
There are lots of people who are not homophobic but who are transphobic.
There are transphobic LGBs also.
There are also people who are not transphobic but are homophobic. E.g. in Iran transsexualism is ok but homosexuality is not.
Actually in China transphobia isn’t really much more prominent than homophobia generally speaking, and for both gays and trans people, (those who are not “in stealth mode”) it is very difficult to get proper jobs, apart from a few very “specialised” sectors like sex work.
Violent crimes may be more frequent in the West but the vast majority of ordinary people in the West would never hurt LGBT people either, it’s just that there is a higher quantity of the small minority that would do so.
I have a transwoman friend who was sacked from an English-teaching company in Shanghai simply because she is trans, even though she is completely qualified (over-qualified, I might add) for the job. I know a gay Chinese student who is basically seeking asylum in Australia because of his parents’ deep hostility towards his sexuality.
Yup it goes both ways too agreed.
I think the homophobia from Chinese families, particularly towards gay sons, has a lot more to do with traditional attitudes about the “family” and marriage/children etc. which can be just as troublesome as religion in other countries. I think the pressure on children is exacerbated (?) if they are the only child, which in china is obviously very common.
I know a lot of Chinese lesbians who don’t have as many problems as you describe but who did seriously worry about the reaction of their families and being disowned and homeless, in exactly the same way I worried about my catholic family.
What is the problem with China? A transgendered person won the Eurovision Song Contest of Israel and even homophobic Iran now allows gender reassignment. China has come a long way in gay rights in recent years but still has a long way to go. China is an athiest country and you cannot blame religion for homophobia there. Homosexuality was incompatablke with Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Cultural revolution as it is in North Korea and Kim Ill Jong’s Juche policy.
You can get gender reassignment in China too, but of course thanks to the demolition of the welfare state system, it is not free. The Iranian state actually pays for some of the cost, but not all of it. In both China and Iran though trans-women are severely disadvantaged, in China this is because of transphobia whereas in Iran all women are very disadvantaged. But at least China doesn’t stone gays to death like how a theocratic state like Iran does.
I have heard that gender reassignment is actually encouraged for gay men in Iran and it’s easy to see why since, as women unable to reproduce naturally, any gay man who does so will not only be literally emasculated but rendered almost entirely powerless too.
Now of course I oppose the forced gender reassignment of gay people who are not genuinely transgendered, but your point about “emasculation” is somewhat dubious because to me it seems to be suggesting implicitly that gay men should always strive to be “masculine” in a kind of stereotypical sense. Personally I think this is nonsense since there are many gay men, both in the West and elsewhere, who are indeed somewhat “effeminate” but don’t become “powerless” as a result. What you are saying is almost that the “masculine” is somehow intrinsically inferior to the “feminine”. The problem in Iran is that it is a very sexist society (much more so than China today) and women in general are very powerless.
No, when I wrote ‘literally emasculated’ I meant literally, not figuratively. I don’t think what I wrote is particularly ambiguous.
I support gay rights and trans rights equally. Just like I totally oppose forced gender reassignment for gay men who are not transgender, I also oppose transphobic views which essentially see trans-women as really “just emasculated gay men in a closet”. Nor do I consider women who cannot reproduce naturally to be intrinsically worth less than women who can. After all, there are many women who are naturally infertile anyway, not just transwomen. (And technically it isn’t actually true that all transwomen are infertile, just that standard laws in much of the West today require all transgendered people to be sterilised)
Since there is a lot of commenting with regards to Iran…take a look at this…