Shanxi Permits Transgender Persons to Change Gender Information

January 9, 2014
Editor: Nancy Sun
Shanxi Permits Transgender Persons to Change Gender Information
Photo shows Jin Xing and her two sons. Jin underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1996 in China, the first person to receive the surgery with official approval of the Chinese government. [xxingclub.com]
A person who has had gender reassignment surgery can now change their notification gender on their official permanent residence registration in north China's Shanxi Province. This applies across their book of registered permanent residence, identification card, sex determination proof given out by a domestic hospital above third level and certificate from the notarization department or judicial appraisal department.

The Shanxi Provincial Permanent Residence Registration Regulations came into effect on January 1, 2014, a breakthrough in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) rights.

Minors who apply to change gender information should also submit their book of registered permanent residence and identification card of their guardian.

With an estimated transgender community of 400,000 in China, the government has adopted policies that grant transgender citizens civil rights according to law, allow them to change their identification cards, and legally recognize their marriages after sex reassignment surgery.

The current situation in China may vary from province to province. In a number of provinces it is now possible for trans-gendered people (who have had sex reassignment surgery) to change their legal registration and the associated documents, and to marry.

A typical example is the celebrity Jin Xing, who underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1996. She was the first person to receive the surgery with official approval of the Chinese government. Her official identification says she is female and she is legally married to a man. The response to her transition was mixed, but she went on to direct China's first independent modern dance company, which has been proved very successful.

She now lives with her three adopted children and her German husband in Shanghai.

Another example Chen Lili, a 24-year-old transsexual from southwest China's Sichuan Province, the first transgender contestant to win the Miss China Universe pageant in 2004 before being disqualified from participating in the international competition.

The government implemented guidelines in 2009 to restrict gender reassignment surgery. According to the new guidelines, a person must apply to the police before undergoing gender reassignment surgery, and must also live openly as the gender with which they identity for at least three years before the surgery. They cannot have a criminal record, must be over the age of 20, and and must have gone through considerable therapy. Those who are married must have consent from their partner as well. The candidate also must tell their immediate family about their plans for surgery.

While the guidelines may seem draconian to some, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health also recommends: a 12-month preoperative experience living in an identity congruent gender, hormone treatment, and a written assessment from a mental health professional. Given the physical and psychological impact, the surgery is not a decision to be taken lightly by patients or surgeons.

In recent years, China's media have taken an increasing interest in transgender issues, bringing more positive stories to light. In 2012, 84-year-old Qian Jinfan made national and international headlines in an interview with Southern Metropolitan Daily, publicly outing herself as transgender. International media dubbed her "China's oldest transgender". Born in east China's Zhejiang Province in 1928 as a male, Qian worked as a calligrapher, art critic, and government official, spending the first 80 years of her life as a closeted transgender. In her youth, Qian said she would wear a bra under her clothes, and always walked with a sashay in her step.

In 2008, Qian started taking hormone replacement therapy and bravely wrote to her former employers, the Foshan Cultural Radio Television News and Publication Bureau, to explain her reasons for transitioning and her fear that she might lose her pension. To her amazement, her employers were incredibly understanding.

Looking at homosexuality over the last two decades, a huge number of activists has campaigned loudly and proudly in China, doing everything within their power to achieve equality.

(Source: qx.tynews.com.cn/Translated and edited by womenofchina.cn)

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