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article imageIs China finally accepting transgenders?

By Amanda Byas     Aug 10, 2013 in World
During the last few weeks of July, the story of a young transgender couple who transitioned together, a story recently gone viral in the Western media, trended on Sina Weibo, China’s popular blogger platform.
Although some Chinese people were confused by the entire story, many praised the couple for their courage, bravery, and quality of their relationship.
Katie Hill and Arin Andrews, American teenagers, met at a transgender support group and began dating immediately after. Katie was born a male, but identifies as a female, while Arin was born a female and identifies as a male. Both knew that they were born as the wrong genders and were able to support each other throughout the process.
Chinese reactions to the story on Weibo were generally positive and supportive.
User @淡蓝同志新闻: "Everyone has the right to love. Be yourself! Good luck! Others can learn from your experience as a #genderswapcouple"
User @东南快报 added: "From childhood, they have been discriminated against because of their gender orientations. After the two met, they knew how to love each other. Together they wipe away the haze of the past to great a new life."
To this day, in China gender reassignment is still an unmentionable topic. Also gender reassignment surgery is prohibitively expensive and constrained. A 2010 report from the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission on China describes the level of perception faced by transgender Chinese citizens:
Transgendered people face serious levels of police harassment in China. The transgendered community also faces particular difficulties in obtaining employment. The Chinese authorities are currently consulting on new rules on gender realignment surgery. In certain aspects these rules fail to meet international standards on individual autonomy and privacy.
The government implemented guidelines in 2009 for constraining gender reassignment surgery. However in the new guidelines, a person must apply with the police to change the gender on their birth certificate before undergoing any gender reassignment surgery.
Plus a person must live openly as the gender as which they identify themselves as for a certain amount of years before they can receive any surgeries. They also cannot have a criminal history, must be over the age of 20, unmarried, and have gone through years of therapy.
More about transgenders, China, Gender reassignment, katie hill, arin andrews
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