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The Path To Speaking Up For Trans People in China

October 30, 2017

 

I am one of the actors in Vagina Says, a feminist play, which draws inspiration from Vagina Monologues and, for the first time in its performance history in China, is acted out by a trans woman. Our play was derived from an interview with one of my friends, and the story centres on the struggles that unfold around the pain and frustrations of fake marriage. The play also underwent some editing by myself, making the emotional aspects of the play more raw and realistic. As for the script, the actor uses performance to reflect feelings of "depression" rather than using words to convey those feelings. Hopes and aspirations are embodied through recollections of childhood, and are then compared with the grayness and dullness of adult life. After reflecting on the ups and downs of life, the play then takes things to a higher level to explore thoughts about humanity and society.

 

Overall, there are few art productions and organisations that focus on trans topics, and some of the producers that have have not realised that they do not fully understand the lives of trans people, thus leaving their final product far from satisfactory. Some organisations take their creative freedom to the extreme by, for example, portraying trans women as having a strong desire to experience menstrual pain. When a person wants to become a woman, it does not mean that they are trying to undergo this pain. It’s just like when a person wants to have a child, it does not mean that they are hoping to experiences labour pains. Additionally, trans folks have a clear understanding of what their gender is, and thus expressions suggesting things like “born in the wrong body” should not be brought up. Many cisgender people who seek to use trans topics as material for their creative work often make the same mistake - that is, they are portraying their imaginations of trans people rather than how it really is.

 

In order to gain visual impact, some art productions purposefully choose extreme examples without actually understanding how this differs from the lives of trans people in society or their individual situations. Actually, there are many trans people that keep to themselves due to their inner struggles with their identity and the fear of being outed.

 

I’ve taken part in shooting of a film (currently under production) called Rib Cage, which combines the topics of Christianity and being trans. The plot of the film underwent examination by myself and some friends, and it seemed quite good. However, the shooting and editing of the film is not something we can control, and we can only wait until it is actually screening to know how it turns out. It is difficult for films like this and plays like Vagina Says to pass the mainstream media audit process in China, and thus we have little hope that anything is going to change for many years to come. Currently, because of the influence of domestic politics, the force of the media  restrictions wavers, and we are unsure when we will enter a smooth period of opening up.

 

Trans issues have not received enough serious attention from mainstream media in China, and few TV channels report on trans issues and only some media publish articles on this in a very marginal way. For example, some trans women have no other choice but to make a living from sex work or other illegal activities. When reporting on this, mainstream law-related media just present things in a uninformed, negative and exaggerated way, and use a sensationalist tone to narrative stories like "that’s actually a man”, thus causing even more feelings of disgust in the public eye. This will further oppress trans people's space for existence and position in society. Jinxing, who is popular on mainstream media, has greatly contributed to the Chinese public's basic understanding of trans issues. However, I think that the success of Jinxing is not the success of Chinese trans people, rather it the success of the circumstances of her own family background, because people value her status as a "public figure of success" much more.

 

In recent years, despite these many problems, people's awareness of trans issues has increased, and this will inevitably bring more related productions. As for the birth and development of the production of trans-related content, it will still need much more time to mature.

 

(Translated and edited by Luoluo and Ausma Bernotaitė)

Xi Yue is a trans woman and a Christian. She is interested in philosophy, science, and politics. She blogs in Mandarin @investigatecosmos. Image credit : Xi Yue (Sisi)

 

 

 

中国为跨性别发声之路

汐玥(丝丝)

 

我是《阴道说》女权话剧的主演之一,我们的话剧借鉴了《阴道独白》创作理念的基础上,首次加入了跨性别女性。这个剧本的受访者是我的好友,故事围绕形婚展开痛苦与愤怒的挣扎。剧本也经过我的改造,让情感更丰满真实、质朴。剧目的台词上,用演员的表演来体现“抑郁症”,而不是用台词说出来。在童年的追忆中体现盼望与跳动,对比成年后的灰暗与沉稳。最终在经历人生的起伏后,升华到人性与社会的深思。

 

国内跨性别的艺术作品和社团在本身就很少,一些制作方并没有意识到,他们对跨性别状态认识不足,成品并不尽如人意。有些组织在创作的时候,会非常的过激表达,比如:特别强烈的向往感受痛经。想让自己身体成为女性,并不意味着喜欢想体验痛经,就如想要生孩子,但并不意味着希望体验生育之痛。跨性别的需求是原生的需求,不是后天的需求,类似的需求错位现象,不该被提倡。很多想要以跨性别为题材创作的顺性别人,往往陷入的误区是,创作他们想象出来的跨性别。

 

有些艺术作品为了获得视觉冲击,会特意用跨性别极端的案例,也没有抓住跨性别的社会状态与独自状态的分歧。事实上很多跨性别的人因为惧怕暴露自己,以及内心的认同困惑,这些情况都会非常留意与克制。

 

我参与过一部结合“基督教”的跨性别电影《肋骨》,目前还在制作中。电影的剧本经过我和几个朋友的检查,是比较不错的,但拍摄和后期,并不是我们能控制,需要等实际上映才能知晓。这样的题材国内很难过审核,包括《阴道说》话剧,我们对此几乎不抱有期望,这样的状况,在未来可能还会持续很多年。目前受到国内政治的影响,审查力度经常在摇摆不定,很难说什么时期才能进入平稳的开放时期。

 

跨性别没有得到国内主流媒体的足够重视,并没有电视台更多的报道跨性别,仅有少数媒体边缘型的出一些文章。比如说,有些跨性别女性,被生存所迫,会选择卖淫等违法方式。而主流的法律媒体的报道则呈现不理解的负面渲染,还用恍然大悟的口吻叙述类“竟然的男性”,而引起更多民众的厌恶感。这会进一步压榨跨性别的生存空间和社会地位。在主流媒体里流行的金星,对国内的对公众基本跨性别的认识有重要的意义。但我认为,金星的成功并不是跨性别的成功,而是个人家境背景的成功,因为人们更看中所谓的“社会成功人士”的标签。

 

近期几年,虽然有这么多问题,但人们对跨性别的关注的提升,必然会带来更多的衍生作品。对于跨性别的作品孕育与发展,还需要一个漫长的成长时期。

汐玥:身份是跨性别女性、基督徒。兴趣哲学、科学,关心政治。丝丝公主的微博: http://blog.sina.com.cn/investigatecosmos

 

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