|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
On 17 May 2013, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), several Beijing LGBT organizations including Queer Comrades, the Aibai Culture & Education Center, the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute and Common Language worked together with the Netherlands Embassy in Beijing to hold the event "lgbT - Increasing Transgender Visbility in China."
More than 80 people, including media representatives, educational professionals, mental health workers and civil society volunteers, got together to watch the premiere of the transgender documentary "Brothers" and talked about the most pressing transgender issues in China.
Focus on Transgender
On 17 May 1990, the World Health Organization decided to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. Since then, 17 May has become the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), a worldwide day of action against homophobia and transphobia in all its different forms.
Beijing organizers decided to highlight the plight of China's transgender community in their 2013 IDAHO event, as Chinese society is currently still largely unaware of the plight of transgendered people in China, who face stigma and discrimination on a daily basis. They specifically reached out to representatives of the media, educational professionals and psychological counselors, as they fulfill important first-line roles in the spreading of information and the providing of help regarding transgender issues.
At the event, Deputy Head of Mission of the Netherlands Embassy in Beijing, Mr. Andre Driessen, praised the positive development of the Chinese LGBT movement, and pointed out the current obstacles. He said: "We need to cross the river while feeling the stones, and move steadily towards a better future."
The documentary "Brothers" follows Tony, a Female-to-Male Transgendered person, in his daily life. The film shows Tony's road to self-acknowledgement, his troubles at work, his decision to undergo sex reassignment surgery and all the difficulties he encounters on his path.
Many spectators were thoroughly moved by the documentary, and Tony was greeted by a thunderous applause when he got on stage after the documentary screening.
Together with Yaoyao (director of the documentary), Joanne Leung (founder Transgender Resource Center Hong Kong), Zhen Hongli (psychologist Global Care Women & Children's Hospital Beijing) and Guo Yanan (Aibai Transgender Program Assistant), he took part in a panel discussion about transgender issues in China. They answered many questions from the audience, and talked about a wide array of topics including sex reassignment surgery in China, the recognition of transgender identity, and the diversity of transgender communities in China.
The event ended with an informal networking event, where several Beijing LGBT Organizations presented their work on transgender issues to all the different event participants.
The documentary "Brothers" is produced by Queer Comrades. On the website www.queercomrades.com you can watch the trailer and read more about the public availability of the film. You can also watch the trailer on youtube.
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