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Chinese Transgender Man Loses Labor Dispute

  • VOA News

A labor arbitration panel in China Tuesday rejected a transgender man’s complaint that he was fired unfairly, in the first transgender job discrimination case of its kind in that country.

The 28-year-old plaintiff, who uses the name "Mr. C" to protect his family’s privacy, said he was disappointed but will continue to fight for equality.

The panel in the province of Guizhou ruled that the plaintiff's employer did not break the law in firing him after a week on the job but granted Mr. C’s demand to get paid the equivalent of $62 in back pay. The plaintiff also wanted an additional month’s pay, but the panel rejected the request and dismissed the case.

“I’m not satisfied with just the paid-back wages. What I want is respect, and respect from the whole of society for minorities like us,” Mr. C said in a phone interview with the Associated Press.

“In the process of this case, I learned that discrimination against gender expression and transgender individuals is even more serious then I imagined. I hope the law wouldn’t keep supporting discrimination,” he told The New York Times.

Born as a female, living as a man

Mr. C was born a female, but lives as a man. In 2015, he worked at the Ciming Health Checkup Center as a sales person, but was let go after an eight-day probationary period. Mr. C says he believes the dismissal happened because he lives as a man even though he was born female.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Huang Sha, said the health center fired his client based on an evaluation which stated that Mr. C did not demonstrate the skills for the sales position. Huang said the evaluation was an excuse, adding that the sales manager had previously acknowledged Mr. C’s abilities.

The panel also rejected a voice recording in which the health center’s sales manager said the way Mr. C was dressed could impact the place negatively. According to AP, a woman who works at the center denied that the company discriminated against Mr. C.

Both Huang and Mr. C plan to appeal the panel's decision.

China does not recognize same-sex marriage and its laws do not protect people from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.