Born female, Mr. C grew up in the southwestern province of Guizhou, a more conservative environment than the eastern cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. He didn’t even come across the term “transgender” until age 21, when he finally was able to best describe his gender identity.
After graduating from college in 2010, Mr. C continued to appear as a woman when applying for jobs. That all changed in 2013, when he began dressing as a man, wearing a buzz cut and growing a mustache.
In 2015, he applied for a sales job with Ciming Health Exam Center in the provincial capital of Guiyang, but was let go at the end of the eight-day tryout. He believes he was dismissed because of his gender expression, but the company argued his job performance had been substandard.
Mr. C took the dispute to a local labor arbitration panel, which ruled in early May that his dismissal had been legal, while ordering Ciming to pay him $62 in back wages.
Days later, Mr. C filed his case in a local court, which has yet to put it on the docket.
“Now I place my hope with the law,” he said. “I will do whatever I can do to fight to the end.”
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