Difficulty of Being Trans in Hong Kong

Awareness of transgender issues in the (still) Chinese city is increasing, but human rights groups are drawing attention to the difficulties of being trans that remain. These include unfair treatment, discrimination, and limited sex reassignment surgery opportunities. Such surgeries are performed, but candidates have to undergo a series of psychiatric assessments, which can be as long as two and a half years.

Gender identity disorder (gender dysphoria) is quite common in the city. In light of the fact that 158 locals asked for psychiatric help at hospitals in 2016, medical experts are drawing attention to the fact that trans people are still subjected to stigmatization. Dr. Greg Mak Kai-lok, a psychiatrist who has treated hundreds of people suffering from gender dysphoria, has gone on record saying the city needs specialized formal training for doctors and other health professionals working with trans people.

In 2016, the government opened a clinic for people looking for gender-related help at the Prince of Wales Hospital, but this move seems not to have been sufficient. On the plus side, it is one of a series the government has planned.

There are issues with the penal system as well. Local media report that all trans prisoners are detained in all-male wards and treated as if they are mentally ill.

In June 2018, the World Health Organization removed transsexuality from its list of mental illnesses. This is good news for all trans communities worldwide. Yet, rights groups are saying this is hardly a surprise considering modern views that gender is not the same as sex and these concepts are at the core of gender recognition issues.

Slowly but surely, the trans community’s situation is getting better. The prospects of transgender dating in Hong Kong are improving as well. You’ll find lots of trans people at so-called ladyboy cabarets, bars, clubs, theaters, and concerts. In general, they welcome foreigners. They are fluent in English and they’re amazing conversationalists.

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