It can seem as if the transgender community in Hong Kong is akin to a modern-day Sisyphus, fighting a constant battle for human rights. Hopefully, their efforts will diminish as the country fights for democracy and the rights that inevitably come with it, but until then, here are some things you should know, especially if you’re interested in transgender dating in Hong Kong.
Transgender Persons Have to Undergo Psychiatric Assessment
People who want to change their official gender legally have to undergo a series of psychiatric assessments, which takes around two years, before getting permission to have sex reassignment surgery. A growing number of natives are suffering from excessive stress due to inconsistency between gender identity and biological sex. Between 2013 and 2014, the number of transgender people seeking psychiatric help doubled. It is estimated that hundreds of people are seeking help at this time.
Activists are pushing for fairer treatment of the community, but its members continue to suffer under an immense stigma. According to psychiatrists, Hong Kong needs more formalized training for medical staff working with transgender patients. The fact that people do indeed suffer, sometimes tremendously, is often overlooked, in some cases intentionally.
Transgender people in Hong Kong are still marginalized. They are vulnerable and fragile due to having been subjected to discrimination for a long period of time.
People in Hong Kong have begun supporting the transgender community, albeit slowly. In 2013, a transgender woman underwent government-funded sex reassignment surgery and married her boyfriend. Yet, humane treatment is still lacking. Recently, two transgender tourists visiting Hong Kong for shopping and sightseeing were refused entry at the airport and asked if they “had already been cut.” They were also told to sign documents confirming they had undergone full sex realignment surgery and were willing to return to their home country of Thailand at once.
The Prison Situation
Perhaps the treatment of transgender people in Hong Kong’s prisons is where the community is faring the worst. Recently, the Washington Post reported that prison authorities regarded all transgender prisoners as mentally ill and detained them in maximum-security psychiatric centers in all-male wards. According to human rights groups, transgender prisoners experienced verbal and sexual abuse, were denied hormone supplies and had their hair forcibly shaven off.