- Title: In rural China, elderly transgender Sister Liu finds solace
- Date: 18th December 2019
- Summary: LIU DANCING WITH VILLAGERS LIU DANCING A VILLAGER FILMING LIU WITH HER PHONE WHILE LIU DANCING/ LIU TRYING TO AVOID HER PEOPLE DANCING
- Embargoed: 1st January 2020 00:22
- Keywords: China Fujian Fuzhou LGBT issues rights transgender village
- Location: FUZHOU, FUJIAN PROVINCE, CHINA
- City: FUZHOU, FUJIAN PROVINCE, CHINA
- Country: China
- Topics: Living / Lifestyle,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA002BAI3OEF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Liu Peilin starts off her daily routine by applying her makeup, carefully shading her face with bright eyeshadow, blush and a painted brow.
On her way to the market, morning shoppers look a little too long in her direction.
The 63-year-old has become well-known not only in the little southern Chinese village where she lives, but also on the national stage.
In 2012, a video of Liu wearing women's clothing and standing outside a burning residential complex went viral, and she became the centre of mockery by Chinese netizens.
Liu has yearned to be a woman ever since she was a kid, but didn't start dressing up in women's clothes until she was in her 40s.
"But at that time, it wasn't allowed because of the society," said Liu, referring to the Cultural Revolution, when most people wore Mao jackets. "So I had to take those social factors into consideration, and I buried this feeling (that I'm a woman) deep down inside my heart."
Liu's brief viral fame brought her into contact with a supportive community. At the beginning of the year, she was facing eviction when her landlord in Qingdao decided to raise the rent but an artist friend invited her to join his community in a village near the southern city of Fuzhou.
She has also gained fans, who call her "Sister Liu." Many send clothes, swelling an expansive wardrobe, dominated by pink and red hues. Others gift her books and even art.
Still, her life isn't perfect, as she still continues to face discrimination and some weird stares.
"We all know he is not a bad person...some people who don't know him think he's crazy," said Mr. Lin, the local village party secretary.
Liu who remains unemployed, says she wants to undergo gender reassignment surgery, but lacks the funding. She documents her daily life by writing in her diaries.
"I hope in the future I can have a normal life after changing my gender," said Liu. "I want to get married and have a family. It doesn't matter if there's a kid or not. I want to find a companion and live a life."
(Production: Irene Wang, Tingshu Wang, Joseph Campbell)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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