China transgender man loses case on alleged unfair dismissal

BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese arbitration panel has rejected a complaint by a man who claimed to have been unfairly fired for being transgender, his lawyer said on Wednesday (May 11), in what has been called the country's first such case.

The plaintiff, who was born a woman but identifies as a man and generally wears men's clothing, was sacked after eight days by a health centre in the southwestern province of Guizhou, reports said.

A labour arbitration committee in the province disregarded a recording of the employer allegedly saying he was sacked because of his transgender status, his attorney Huang Sha told AFP.

It also rejected his demand for a month's wages and a written apology, ruling that he had been fired because he lacked "adequate skills" for the sales job, Mr Huang added.

The employer was ordered to pay the man, known as Mr C, about 400 yuan (S$84) in wages for the probation period.

"We are disappointed with the result," Mr Huang said.

Reports described the case as the country's first unfair dismissal suit brought by a transgender person.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have won wider acceptance in large Chinese cities in recent years, but conservative attitudes persist.

Activists say they face widespread discrimination and have attempted to use the courts to push their cause.

A Chinese court ruled against two men seeking to marry last month.

In 2014, a Beijing court ordered a psychological clinic to pay a gay man compensation for administering electric shocks in an attempt to make him heterosexual.