Transgender Chinese man wins unfair dismissal case
Author: PM editorial | Date: 11 Jan 2017
Employer is cleared of discrimination in landmark case for country
A transgender man has won his legal case for unfair dismissal against the medical clinic he worked for in south-west China.
Born female but identifying as male, Mr C was fired from his job last year after working at the clinic for only a week.
When he first filed the case, a manager at the Ciming Health Checkup Centre told a local newspaper: “His appearance really didn’t fit our standards.” However, the employer claimed in court that a lack of appropriate skills was the reason for the dismissal.
While the court agreed he had been illegally dismissed, it said there was insufficient evidence to rule that he had been fired because of discrimination against transgender people. The verdict reversed the decision of a local labour dispute board that had previously accepted his employer’s claim that he was fired due to poor performance.
The court awarded him a month's wages and compensation but Mr C told the Guardian newspaper that the case was not about the money – instead he wanted to “raise awareness of transgender and other sexual minorities” and push for anti-discrimination legislation.
He also said the ruling that transgender discrimination was not involved meant new legislation on the matter was needed.
In an interview with the BBC, he spoke about the difficulties of being a transgender person trying to find a job in China.
“Within the LGBT community, many people have experienced this after they revealed their sexual orientation," he said. "So you either hide it, and wear their uniforms, or you get rejected.”
Neighbouring Vietnam now has a law in place to recognise the rights of transgender people. It came into effect in January as part of the Civil Code and allows people to register under a new gender.