China has published its first study of transgender people and it’s exactly as worrying as you’d expect
China’s first nationwide report on its trans population has indicated startling rates of violence and depression within the community.
The poll, released this week, revealed that high amounts of transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people live in poverty and lack access to sufficient medical care.
46% of participants said they had considered self-harm or suicide.
12.7% of those had also attempted suicide and/or self-harm.
In May, an LGBT conference in China was cancelled after police detained nine activists and told them their events were not welcome in their city.
Also this year, Chinese government authorities attempted to block access to LGBT content on the internet.
This new study found that trans people also face high levels of neglect, verbal, and physical abuse at home, school, work and public spaces.
73% of respondents have anxiety.
60% have depression.
But more than three in four said they did not wish to seek psychological counselling as they felt that the therapist would not be able to understand their situation.
Many of the survey participants flagged up a lack of accessible, safe, and trans-friendly health care.
Economic factors often barred them from healthcare, especially as such treatments are not covered by national health insurance.
This is particularly problematic as sex reassignment surgery is a prerequisite to changing your gender on official documents in China.
62% of respondents said they needed access to hormone therapy, while 51% wanted to have gender affirming treatment.
Overall, just 6% were satisfied with their experiences of hormone therapy in China.
And only 2% said there were enough resources for gender-affirming treatment.
Workplace discrimination correlated with trans people living in low incomes – or even poverty.
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A third of respondents earned less than 25,000 yuan (£2,900) annually.
High rates of violence from partners and family members were also reported, with trans people twice as likely than other LGB people to encounter forms of violence.
To ameliorate these issues, the report recommends hiring trans-friendly health professionals who can demystify medical processes to relatives, helping trans people gain acceptance from their family.
China’s medical guidelines should also be altered to no longer refer to transgender surgeries as “sex changes” and instead use the term “sex reassignment surgery,” they said.
It is further recommended that the government abolish a rule which requires sex assignment surgery before citizens can change their gender on official documents.
2,060 people took part in the survey, which was conducted by the Beijing LGBT Centre, Peking University and the United Nations Development Programme, with support from China’s Dutch embassy.