Transgender in China

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

China and greater China (the Chinese region, including People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan (Republic of China)) have a long history of transgenderism.


A wide variety of terms are used in relation to transgenderism in Chinese languages. In Mandarin, the term kuaxingbie (跨性别, pinyin kùaxìngbie), literally "to go beyond sex", has recently come into use as a literal translation of the English term "transgender", but kuaxingbie is not in popular use outside of academia.

Fanchuan (反串, fǎnchùan) is the historical term for cross-dressed performing on stage, as in Beijing opera where males play women's parts, or in Taiwanese opera where females play men's parts.

A common term for "ladyboys" or other transsexual people who perform on stage is renyao (人妖, py rényāo). This term is most specifically applied to Thai katoey, and almost never to Chinese transgender people. The term can be broken down as "human monster"; and while some would argue that yao here means "enchanting", the word has both connotations. In combination with its application primarily to non-Chinese, and especially southeast Asian, transgender people, it is a very offensive term. Chinese transgender people themselves almost universally avoid the term, favoring less insulting descriptions.[citation needed]

In the late 1990s, the performing group Red Top Arts (紅頂藝人, py Hǒngdǐng Yìrén) came to fame in Taipei, Taiwan as the island's first professional drag troupe. Since this time, "Red Top" and various homophones (紅鼎,宏鼎, etc.) have come to be common combining-forms that indicates drag, crossdressing, etc.

The standard Chinese term for transsexual people is 變性者, (py bìanxìngzhe), literally "one who changes sex". Bìanxìng 變性 is therefore the most common way to say "change one's sex", though not necessarily through sexual reassignment surgery—bianxing may also include hormonal changes and lifestyle changes.[citation needed]

Terms for crossdressing are many and varied. 異裝癖 (py yìzhūangpǐ), literally "obsession with the opposite [sex's] attire", is commonly used. 扮裝 (py bànzhūang), literally "to put on attire", is commonly used to mean crossdressing. Related to this is an auxiliary term for drag queens: 扮裝皇后 (py bànzhūang húanghòu), or "crossdressing queen". There are several terms competing as translations of the English drag king, but none has reached currency yet.

Two common terms for intersex people exist: 中性人 (py zhōngxìngrén), literally "middle sex person" (and perhaps indicating androgyny rather than medical intersexuality), and 陰陽人 (py yīnyángrén), or "Yin-Yang person".[citation needed]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]