A Chinese transgender man identified only as Chen, has won a landmark discrimination legal case against his former employers, in what has been described as the first such case in Chinese history.
The court ruled that Chen was illegally fired from his job at a medical centre in south-west China after having been employed for only a week.
Despite being found guilty of illegal dismissal, the company was not ordered to apologise to Chen by the judge, who has claimed that there is not enough evidence to say that he was dismissed due to his gender identity. Chen was awarded 2,000 yuan (£234), which equates to a months wage.
Chen has spoken out regarding the outcome of the case, saying ‘I have always said that this case was never about the money. This lawsuit was about three things, dignity, raising awareness of transgender and other sexual minorities, and pushing for anti-discrimination legislation.’
Chen has said that he was ‘quite happy’ with the ruling; ‘It is the first case in China where a sexual minority wins, it’s also good news for the community.’
Although he has a positive attitude regarding the outcome, Chen has said that he will continue legal challenges against his former employer to force for an official apology.
Sadly, Chen has said that this is not the first case of discrimination that he has had to face in his life. Despite having caring and accepting parents, he claims that he was often bullied at school by both classmates and teaching staff due to his gender identity.
‘I was bullied by classmates and teachers would just ignore my existence. When I first started looking for work I often felt discrimination and was never promoted.’
China remains a deeply conservative country in regards to both gender identity and sexual orientation, with homosexuality only being decriminalized in 1997, and being anything other than straight being classed as a mental illness until 2001. In 2016 authorities within China banned all depictions of LGBT+ people on Chinese television, as part of a cultural clampdown aimed at ‘vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content’.