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The Chinese transgender choir who’re singing for acceptance

Ella Braidwood September 14, 2019

Trans Chorus performing live. (AFP)

A transgender choir in China is helping to change attitudes through their work.

The members of the Trans Chorus, none of which are professional singers, have been brought together from across the country, according to a report by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The singers have been unite by their shared experiences of struggling with their gender identity.

Trans Chorus changing attitudes in China

Being transgender is still classes as a “mental illness” in China.

The choir recently performed at Milk LGBT Gala in Chengdu, which is considered to be one of China’s more liberal cities, where audience members were reportedly moved to tears.

One choir member, Fang Yuran, who uses the gender neutral pronoun “ze,” shared experiences on stage of growing up in Hefei, a city in eastern Anhui.

“My reflection in the mirror, is a stranger’s face, which one is the real me, which one is the fake?,” Yuran told AFP.

Trans choir perform at LGBT+ gala in Chengdu

The performers have come together over their shared experiences of being transgender in China. (AFP)

Yuran, now 31, came out as trans in 2015 and started buying testosterone online.

The Trans Chorus singer had struggled with zir gender identity growing up.

My reflection in the mirror, is a stranger’s face, which one is the real me, which one is the fake?

“Perhaps I didn’t have much of a mind of my own, so I would ask myself: ‘Who am I actually? Who should I listen to?’,” Fang told AFP.

“Around the same time, a friend said to me that I should find myself, and listen to who I am. So slowly I began to discover the person I am now.”

Earlier this year, a report by report from Amnesty International found that trans people in China are risking dangerous surgery and black-market hormone treatments because it’s “impossible” for them to access healthcare.

The report, “I need my parents consent to be myself”: Barriers to gender-affirming treatments for transgender people in China, was released on Thursday (May 9) and contains interviews with 15 trans people in China.

The report found that there was widespread discrimination against trans people and a serious lack of information about accessing gender-affirming treatment.

Doriane Lau, Amnesty’s China researcher and the lead author of the report, told PinkNews that “lax regulations” around conversion therapy also contribute to how China is “failing” transgender people.

“Currently there is no law banning conversion therapy in China,” Lau told PinkNews.

“Even though a court in China ruled in 2014 that one of the biggest search engines must remove conversion therapy advertisement, conversion therapy is still very common in the country due to lax regulations.

“An interviewee’s parents even sought help from private institutions that claimed to ‘cure’ transgender identities.”

Watch AFP’s video of Trans Chorus below:

More: China, choir, Trans

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