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Transgender Day of Remembrance in China, and an alarming report

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Yesterday, November 20, was the Day of Transgender Remembrance. The day was first marked in 1999 to memorialize the death of Rita Hester, a black transgender woman whose murder in Massachusetts still remains unsolved. Nearly 20 years later, it has evolved into a global movement to remember and honor transgender individuals who have lost their lives to violence.

This year, the day saw the publication of a report about transgender people in China, based on more than 2,000 valid responses compiled by the Beijing LGBT Center, Peking University’s Sociology Department, and the United Nations Development Programme with support from the embassy of the Netherlands in China. According to Sixth Tone, it was the largest survey of this kind to date.

Below are some essential takeaways from the report:

  • Mental health issues are common. More than 60 percent of respondents said they suffered from depression, and about 46 percent have considered suicide. Alarmingly, over 10 percent had attempted suicide.
  • Violence and bias exist everywhere. Over 70 percent of respondents said they had experienced violence at school, and up to roughly 25 percent thought that work environments were unfriendly to transgender people. Neither is home a sanctuary: Of 1,640 respondents whose relatives knew or had guessed their gender identity, all but six reported that they had experienced family violence at least once.
  • Medical services are urgently needed. About 62 percent of respondents indicated a demand for hormone therapy, while 51 percent reported a desire for gender reassignment surgery. Only 6 percent of these respondents were satisfied with the current situation for provision of and access to hormone therapy.

Read the full report here. Available in Chinese and English.


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Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.