Chinese transgender folks have placed themselves in dangerous situations in order to obtain hormone replacement therapy and gender confirmation surgery, as transgender people are still classified as having a mental illness.
The transgender community in China has faced a variety of trouble due to the lack of information and public healthcare access for their needs. As a result of this, many have turned to blackmarket drugs and performing bottom surgeries on themselves. Not just in the medical realm, the community has been met with discrimination in many areas, like the workplace.
Many fear of coming, out due to the view of the transgender community in China, and the possibility of asking permission for gender confirmation surgery is slim. With transgender people being seen a having a mental illness, there are difficult obstacles people have to overcome in order to be granted surgeries. Receiving gender confirmation surgeries requires parental consent, and the stigma builds barriers.
Additionally, the lack of medical professionals trained in this area makes it more difficult for folks to find a provider to perform bottom surgery. The lack of understanding and knowledge has led many to perform gender confirmation surgery on themselves.
Amnesty International shared the story of Huiming who underwent SRS at home. Feeling like such was a last resort and having the fear of being rejected by her family, Huiming stated “I thought I was an abnormal person. How could I explain this to my family? I was both happy and scared. I was scared because I was bleeding so badly, I could die right there. I feared I would still die a man, since I only did part of my surgery.”
Prior to this incident, Huiming had purchased blackmarket drugs. Like many, she was unable to access a medical professional about the side effects about the drug, and faced the changes alone. These hormones can pose a high threat to the health of the person because of the drugs possibly being counterfeit, and the lack of knowledge about the correct dosage.
Many undergoing hormone treatment in China have experienced mood swings and a large toll on their mental health, some experiencing severe depression.
Currently, China only has one clinic specializing in gender treatments. However, there still remains a multitude of steps to pass in order for the transgender community to feel accepted in China.