• Blocked by legislation, transgender people in China are starting to take their treatment into their own hands. (AFP)
Members of the trans community in China are being driven to buy black market hormones and self-medicate by ongoing discrimination and hurdles to gender-affirming treatments.
Samuel Leighton-Dore

10 May 2019 - 1:48 PM  UPDATED 10 May 2019 - 1:48 PM

A new study by human rights group Amnesty International has found that members of the trans community in China are being driven to self-medicate, faced with ongoing intolerance and a growing number of obstacles to gender-affirming treatment.

Speaking to CNN, Amnesty International China researcher Doriane Lau said that interviewees described regular discrimination both at work and home.

According to the report, one interviewee, known as Huiming, had gotten so desperate that she even attempted gender-affirming surgery on herself.

"She tried putting ice on her male genitals to stop them functioning and even booked a surgery with a black-market doctor, but the doctor was arrested," the report states.

"Convinced that she had no way out, Huiming finally tried performing surgery on herself at home in mid-2016."

Members of the transgender community face strict criteria before qualifying for surgery, with China's Sex Reassignment Procedural Management Standards 2017 stating people must be older than 20, unmarried and have undergone psychological therapy for a year prior.

Patients must also be able to prove that they've been wanting the surgery for five years "with no history of hesitation."

Additionally, Amnesty International's report found that gender-affirming treatment continues to be categorised as plastic surgery in China, meaning that only those with the financial means are able to pursue it.

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