Chinese transgender man files suit against employer

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2016-4-12 0:41:56

Public apology sought for wrongful firing

China's first labor arbitration case filed by a transgender man was opened Monday in a local arbitration commission in Guiyang, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, amid increasing action by China's sexual and gender minority groups to defend their rights under the law.

The defendant, the Guiyang branch of Ciming Checkup - a healthcare company - has agreed to pay the transgender plaintiff, who identified himself as Liu, around 1,600 yuan ($247) in salary and compensation, Liu's lawyer Huang Sha told the Global Times on Monday.

Liu, 29, who was born physically female but identifies himself as male, was fired one week after he was hired by Ciming last year. He filed a case with the local arbitration commission on March 7, seeking a week's salary and compensation for financial losses caused by the dismissal.

Liu has demanded compensation of 2,643 yuan and a public apology from the company.

"I am not doing this only for myself, but also for all those who might face employment discrimination, such as those who are pregnant or disabled," Liu told the Global Times.

The arbitration commission's final ruling will be announced by the end of April.

Ciming was unavailable for comment as of press time.

According to Huang, the company has insisted throughout the arbitration process that they fired Liu because he was not qualified for the job.

Quoting the head of Ciming's human resources department, the Xinhua News Agency reported in March that the company fired Liu because they thought he was gay and his sartorial choices were "incompatible" with the company's image.

"The arbitration is expected to encourage more people - including but not limited to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community - who face discrimination during their employment to stand up and defend themselves," Xu Bin, the director of Common Language, a Beijing-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) that advocates equal rights for LGBT groups, told the Global Times.

Xu also hopes that the arbitration of Liu's case will promote legislation against employment discrimination in China.

According to a report published by Chinese nonprofit organization Aibai Culture and Education Center, the LGBT community in China still struggles with social stigma among employers and peers, as many people have yet to accept the group, Xinhua reported.

However, more and more LGBT people are seeking legal approaches to raise social awareness and defend their legitimate rights to employment and marriage.

In the latest example, a local court in Changsha, Central China's Hunan Province will hear the country's first lawsuit on same-sex marriage rights on Wednesday.
Newspaper headline: Transgender man files suit against employer

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