Transgender in China

Transgender In China

Transgender in China

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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 kuaxing (跨性, pinyin kùaxìng), literally "to go beyond sex", has recently come into use as a literal translation of the English term "transgender", but kuaxing 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.

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...
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