In July this year, Lin Zejun, a student who was promoted to the sixth form, became known because of the "prohibition".
He uploaded a video on social platforms, expressing that he was experiencing gender dysphoria and hoped to explore himself by growing long hair, but was asked by the school to cut his hair, and was banned from participating in school activities. He was warned that he would record a shortcoming every day until he was suspended from school.
He then complained to the EOC, questioning the violation of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, which revealed the current situation of unfair treatment of sexual minority students in Hong Kong campuses.
Gender dysphoria: According to the definition of the American Psychiatric Association, it refers to the contradiction between the psychological gender identified by self-identity and the biological sex at birth, which causes significant pain and even affects daily life.
In addition to Lin, there are many young people of sexual minorities who face many shackles in their studies, such as transgender youth (trans youth). There are various gender frames such as hairstyles and school uniforms, the incomprehension of people around you, and the fear of frankly telling parents and friends.
Transgender people: According to the definition of the American Psychiatric Association, it refers to people whose gender identity or gender expression does not match the sex at birth; the World Health Organization also announced in 2018 that transgender de-diseases were moved from the classification of mental illness to "sexuality". health conditions" to reduce stigma against this group and emphasize that gender identity is simply behavioral differences and preferences.
K (pseudonym), who is currently in Form 6, is a transgender girl who has resisted signs of gradual development since puberty, such as a deepening voice, facial beard and developing sex organs.
On the day of the interview, she had shoulder-length hair and wore a skirt, which looked like an ordinary girl in the eyes of others, but it was the result of K's hard work for more than a year.
Born as a boy, K started to take pictures and go out in women's clothes when his family was away or during holidays, such as wearing skirts and wigs.
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Drug prices are high and unaffordable
Since seeing a Taiwanese YouTuber, K has been hoping to take hormone drugs to slow down the appearance of male sexual characteristics, but there are few ways to buy drugs. Among public hospitals, only the gender identity clinic of Prince of Wales Hospital can prescribe hormones Drugs, but patients must be over 18 years old to be able to arrange consultations and prescription drugs.
Minors will be referred to Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists, but the clinic only deals with mental health issues and will not provide targeted assistance for youth gender dysphoria.
Teenagers who want to take medicine can only go to private clinics, but the monthly drug fee of more than 1,000 yuan is not affordable for ordinary students.
K chose to take the risk. At that time, she was in the fourth grade of middle school, searching for ways to buy medicines online, and finally contacted a pharmacy in the mainland through WeChat, and successfully purchased two hormone oral medicines that required a doctor's prescription in the local area.
Without the guidance of a doctor, K only relied on the Internet to look up drug information, and even searched for ways to distinguish the authenticity of the drug on the Internet. The dosage was based on reference to a trans youth of similar age who had visited a private clinic and was prescribed the same drug. friend.
After taking the medicine for three months, her lower body reaction weakened, and the distribution of hair and body fat changed half a year later, causing her breasts to grow, but it was also accompanied by obvious dizziness and headaches. K admitted that she should not work too hard during the day, and that she would not work too hard before twelve o'clock at night. Must rest.
But because these side effects "are all listed on Wikipedia", she never questioned whether the body's reaction after taking the drug was normal.
She fluently listed the amount and price of the medicine to the reporter. The monthly medicine cost is about 1,000 yuan. Even if it is not a large amount, it is a burden for a student who has no financial means and no family support before coming out. The sum of expenses is still difficult. "If I skip lunch occasionally, I can save tens of yuan a day, which is enough for a month's medical expenses."
A year after buying medicine on his own, K came out to his family in his fifth year of Form. After being understood, he also obtained a medical certificate of gender dysphoria through a private psychiatrist, and at the same time obtained a prescription for medicine.
However, the price of medicines in private clinics is several times higher than that of mainland pharmacies and local pharmacies. For example, the local price of the anti-androgen hormone drug Androcur is about three times (HKD$1100) that of mainland pharmacies (HKD$380). Another female hormone drug The price of Estrofem in the two places is similar, so now she still buys medicines and takes them by herself through WeChat.
Depression in the campus environment leads to collapse and the idea of committing suicide
In addition to buying medicine with meal money, K also has to face the school's incomprehension.
After K submitted a gender dysphoria doctor's certificate to the school, she was allowed to grow her hair long, but two weeks later, the school suddenly turned around and rejected her application, citing school regulations.
K didn't want to give up, so she had to hide among the crowd and rush into the campus every day to avoid the discipline teacher standing at the door.
She was often reprimanded and warned by the teacher to cut her hair. She could only pay a few words, but continued to go to school with her original appearance.
In addition to the incomprehension of her teacher, she also had to face the teasing of her peers: "Does she wear women's clothing to go out to do PTGF?" In the campus environment, self-mutilation began to vent the accumulated negative emotions for a long time.
The turning point of the school’s attitude was the summer vacation when she entered the sixth form. At that time, K felt extremely depressed about the campus environment. Apart from missing make-up classes, she shed tears at home every day, kept “letting go” on social media, and even planned to end her life.
Fortunately, my friend found her hanging around the rooftop and arrived in time.
This time, the school finally paid attention to her and allowed her to grow her hair long and wear gym clothes for class. The class teacher even cared about her condition from time to time.
However, K believes that the teacher's understanding of transgender is poor, and he is still unable to provide practical assistance.
“It felt like I was an outlier on campus, where everyone was divided into gender dichotomies and I stood in the middle.”
Quaozi wears men's clothes to school and is treated unfriendly
Not only K, but other trans youths also hit a wall on the road of self-exploration in middle school.
21-year-old tertiary student Mai Weihan has been disgusted with wearing school skirts since elementary school. He often used different reasons to wear sportswear to school. It was not until middle school that he saw a foreign transgender YouTuber share that he discovered that he was a "trans boy" (transgender male) .
When he was in middle school, he was lucky enough to find a local support organization "Transgender Resource Center" on the Internet, and met other transgender people in the group of the center, and saw that the older members could identify themselves as comfortable gender identities, which made him very happy. He is not extremely confused about the future.
After he obtained a gender dysphoria doctor's certificate from a public hospital when he was in fifth grade, he was approved by the school to wear a men's school uniform to school.
But even so, he still vividly remembers the unfriendly treatment he suffered on campus.
Mai Weihan recalled that whenever a teacher talked about gender issues such as homosexuality, he would always watch him and assign him to answer questions. This excessive attention made him feel uncomfortable.
In addition, Mai Weihan admitted that it is still very embarrassing to use the toilet and changing room at school. Although he can wear men's school uniform, the school did not approve him to enter the men's bathroom.
In order not to misunderstand other students, he would avoid going to the toilet at school and go home during lunch time, or go to the men's toilet in a nearby shopping mall.
As for the physical education class, because there is no separation in the women's locker room, he will change into the physical education clothes as soon as possible.
Once after a physical education class, he was about to leave the women's locker room when he happened to bump into a female student in a lower grade. As soon as the other student saw him wearing a boy's school uniform, he immediately ran away in fright without looking back.
Afterwards, he was worried every day, worried that the dean of students would publicly criticize boys for entering the women's locker room at the morning meeting. Fortunately, this did not happen in the end, and he was finally relieved after two weeks.
Once lonely and helpless, he created an organization to help fellow travelers
Looking back on the journey of exploring gender identity, Mak Weihan admitted that five or six years ago, the Chinese information about transgender on the Internet was quite limited. At that time, Hong Kong did not even have a transgender group for teenagers.
Regarding his gender dysphoria, he can only search a large number of English articles and documentaries to try to learn more.
He also uses hashtags related to sexual minorities to post on social platforms, such as #跨青、 #跨洋, etc., so as to meet more fellow travelers.
Because of the confusion and loneliness of groping alone in the fog, McWeihan and his friends founded the organization Quarks two years ago, mainly serving transgender youths, hoping to provide them with a peer support platform, referral resources and public awareness. educate.
At present, the organization has gathered more than 150 transgender people, among whom more than a dozen are middle school students.
He described that other organizations mainly provided one-on-one assistance in the past, but he believes that teenagers need a comfortable social circle more than greetings.
Therefore, Trans Youth organizes book clubs and gatherings from time to time, so that Trans Youth can meet other friends and support each other, so that each other will not feel lonely on this journey.
"We want them to find their own comfortable appearance. If they don't know their own position, we can slowly explore together."
Girls' school boys hold gender-friendly graduation day to make up for regret
Zeng Lingxian is one of the fellow travelers that Mak Weihan met through transgender community activities. The 27-year-old Zeng Lingxian is the vice chairman of Trans Youth Moment. He was invited by Mak Weihan to join the organization two years ago.
Zeng Lingxian didn't know the concept of transgender until very late. When he was in middle school, he went to a girls' school. There were many Tomboys (abbreviated as TB, referring to lesbians with more masculine personalities and dresses) in the school. At that time, he had short hair, so he was also classified by his classmates. Class is TB.
But he doesn't agree with this classification because he considers himself male and likes boys.
Since junior high school, he has been disturbed by his developing sexual characteristics, especially breasts and buttocks, so he usually walks with his back arched.
In order to prevent the school uniform from sticking to the skin and revealing the curves of the body, he would grab the school skirt and pull it forward for a long time, and as time went by, the hem of the skirt even burned his finger marks.
More than ten years ago, the society knew little about transgender people, and even he himself didn't know much about it, and his classmates also had doubts about him.
In the past, most of the public's impressions of transgender came from sex reassignment surgery in Thailand, "shemale", etc., and he believes that these identities have nothing to do with him.
Whenever someone asks: "When will I be a boy" and "Do you want to change gender", it makes him feel rejected and uncomfortable.
It wasn't until the sixth form that Zeng Lingxian learned about the concept of transgender people from a TV interview, and realized that he is a trans child. Now he has gone to Thailand to complete a chest surgery.
"I'm not trying to change gender, it's just who I am (male)."
In July this year, Zeng Lingxian, as a volunteer for the Fun Games, co-organized the "Graduation Day for Fun" at the Eaton Hotel with Trans Youth Moment and the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA), an organization for sexual minority students.
Because most trans youths cannot wear clothes that match their gender identity to attend the school graduation ceremony, the purpose of the event is to allow sexual minority youth to experience the graduation ceremony again in the clothes they like and feel comfortable with.
Nearly 100 people participated that day, and many young people brought their relatives and friends to attend.
Zeng Lingxian recalled that his mother chose the costumes for the middle school graduation party, and her mother chose a very feminine top and trousers for him, which made him extremely uncomfortable.
He lamented that he could finally wear his favorite suit and "graduate" on Tongle's graduation day, which also represented a kind of growth.
The doctor reminded that self-administration is risky and called on the youth to consult a doctor
Private psychiatrist Wang Junbin has experience in handling cases of transgender people in private practice for three years. He pointed out that the number of cases of transgender people seeking medical treatment is on the rise, and he has dealt with more than 30 cases this year.
Minors who want to obtain hormone drugs can only be referred to a private endocrinology department after evaluation by a private psychiatrist, and then the endocrinology department will prescribe drugs. Therefore, most of the patients are minors, and the youngest is only 13 years old.
The diagnosis process requires the statements of transgender people and parents, from the growth process, the feelings of adolescence, to the recent changes in mood and behavior, before making a judgment.
Doctors also need to rule out problems such as mental disorders and sexual preferences before they can issue a medical certificate.
The doctor added that family observation and support are very important, and minors may not have sufficient mental and behavioral capacity, so they need to be accompanied by their parents.
As for some people taking medicine without doctor's advice, Wang Junbin pointed out that the doctor will first choose the appropriate dosage and type according to the patient's physical condition and hormone level.
Misuse of medication may increase the chance of vascular embolism, and even affect blood sugar levels. In severe cases, it may be life-threatening. Therefore, young people are urged to consult a doctor before taking hormone drugs to reduce the risk.
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[This article is reproduced with the authorization of "University Line", an internship publication of the School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Original text: Transgender youth explain their middle school growth path]
What is gender dysphoria?
According to the definition of the American Psychiatric Association, it refers to the conflict between the self-identified psychological sex and the biological sex at birth, which causes significant pain and even affects daily life.
What qualifies as a transgender person?
According to the definition of the American Psychiatric Association, it refers to people whose gender identity or gender expression does not match the sex at birth; the World Health Organization also announced in 2018 that transgender de-disease was moved from the classification of mental illness to the classification of "sexual health conditions" , to reduce stigma against the group and emphasize that gender identity is simply behavioral differences and preferences.