China recognizes second transsexual marriage
March 18 2004 1:00 AM ET
A transgendered woman is the second transsexual to be allowed to legally marry by the Chinese government in recent months, according to Agence France-Presse. The wedding marks a growing trend of marriages by people who have undergone sex-change operations, state media reported Wednesday. Zhang Lin, 37, received not only a new ID card but also a marriage certificate on Monday in Peng township in southwest Sichuan province, the Yangcheng Evening News said. It is the second transsexual marriage reported by Chinese media in recent months. In December a 29-year-old transgendered man tied the knot. Zhang and her husband, Yang Qicheng, plan to hold a big marriage celebration on May 1 for 500 guests, the report said.
Prior to the surgery, Zhang had been married to a woman, and they have a 12-year-old daughter. "Dad, what shall I call you then?" the girl asked Zhang on Monday, according to the Evening News. Zhang did not answer but said she and her husband will try their best to give the girl a good education and living environment. Transsexuals have ceased to be taboo in urban China in recent years, and 500 Chinese men have had sex-change operations, according to previous reports. No figure was available for women. One Shanghai hospital had carried out 108 sex-change operations by the end of February, after performing what it said was China's first operation to change a man to a woman in 1990, the Xinmin Weekly said this month. Of those the hospital operated on, half got married after surgery. Six were women who became men and later had wives who gave birth through artificial insemination.
China's Ministry of Civil Affairs' marriage affairs department told AFP that while China does not allow same-sex unions, it approves of transsexuals getting married. "Under Chinese marriage law, a man and a woman can get married. Same-sex marriages are not allowed," said the official. "But if a man undergoes a sex-change operation and the police have issued him a new identity indicating he has a new gender, then under the law, he's a woman and he can marry a man."