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Chinese now more tolerant toward transsexuals

Xinhua, 7 April 2002

ZHENGZHOU, April 7 (Xinhua) -- A recent 11-hour-operation on sex change at the People's Hospital of Henan Province, in this provincial capital, was ignored by the media and the public, compared with the first such operation in China in 1986, which then made a hit in the country.

The fact is, nowadays Chinese people have become more tolerant of transsexuals.

According to official figures, there are nearly 400,000 transsexuals in China, and over the past 16 years, more than 1,000 of them have realized their life-time dream to live as their real selves.

Zhang Zhengwen, of the Zhengzhou hospital explained that prior to such an operation, the patient must undergo a thorough psychological examination to make sure that the change will not adversely affect his or her life or mental health. In addition, the patient must get permission from the public security authorities, and his or her family and employer, according to official regulations.

A local sociologist said that whether or not a person who has had a sex change operation can enjoy his or her new life depends on understanding and care extended by the whole of society, especially by their relatives.

In 1996, four Chinese transsexuals got married, and are now leading normal lives.

The normal lives that these people are leading prove that the Chinese public has adopted a more tolerant attitude towards transsexualism, said Prof. He Qinglian, a leading orthopedics expert.