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Transgender man demans workplace justice, social equality


03-15-2017 11:50 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

By CGTN reporter Wu Guoxiu

A transgender man in China is continuing with a lawsuit he brought against the company that he claims fired him due to discrimination due to his gender. CGTN's Wu Guoxiu met Mr. C - as he chose to be called - in southwestern Guizhou Province, together with some of his friends from the LGBT community. 

Taking a step closer to justice...Mr. C was born a woman but considers himself a man. He took a local health center to court which he claims dismissed him after one week's probation due to his gender identification. 

The court ruled in December that he was illegally fired, but said there was no proof his dismissal was due to bias against transgender people. He's since applied to the court for a retrial.

"The HR chief said in an audio clip that they dismissed me because of how I dressed. It's bias," he said.

Mr. C says he is not only fighting for his own rights. For ten years, he's led an NGO which aims to help the LGBT community through consultations, speeches and gatherings. Lately, he's been interviewing new volunteers, mostly from the community itself.

"While Mr. C and his friends are joining their efforts, they're calling for more social equality, not only for themselves but also for the LGBT community that's estimated to include tens of millions in China," said reporter Wu Guoxiu.

There are no official statistics on the size of China's LGBT community, but it's estimated to number around 70 million. That's one in every twenty people.

A 2016 survey conducted by non-profit business network, WorkForLGBT, says more gay men and women in the Chinese mainland are planning to come out.

The survey says only 22 percent of gay men and 12 percent of gay women don't intend to reveal their sexual orientation in the next five years.

This hesitance can be traced back to the fact that homosexuality was regarded as a mental disorder in China until 2001. And last year, a court in Hunan Pronvince rejected a gay couple's request that they be allowed to marry.

The LGBT community is now asking for equal social rights.  

" I want to have the legal right to marry. I just want more people to know, I am just one person that wants to live together with another person. It doesn't matter if it's the same or the opposite sex," said Qi'er.

"What if me or my companion faces an emergency at a hospital, but we don't have the right to sign for the surgery as family? Do we just die? Maybe it won't happen that fast that we get equal marriage rights, but can we at least have basic legal spousal rights?" said Wang Dashi.

Marriage rights are also a concern for Mr. C. He has to undergo surgery to become a man if he wants to change the gender on his official ID card. But he is scared.

"I heard in some places people can change their sex only after surgery on the upper body. When can we realize that? So that many transgender people like me won't suffer depression. I tried to commit suicide several times," he said.

Mr. C's girlfriend, who currently lives in Beijing, plans to move in with him soon. Together they plan to make a series of speeches across the country this year. He says he has the best parents and the best girlfriend, but not a society that allows him to work and marry like anyone else.

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