One of China’s Biggest Stars. He is also Transgender.

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Often called Chinese Oprah Winfrey, 53-year-old television presenter Jin Xing has strong views on what it means to be a woman. He followed the female guests to hurry and get married, and urged others to give birth. In the case of men, he advised women to act desperate to get what they want.

This may not be so unusual in China, where traditional gender norms are still deeply embedded, especially among older people. Except that Ms. Jin is not a typical Chinese star.

China’s first and even today the only major trans celebrity, Ms. Jin is seen as a progressive icon in many ways. He underwent transitional surgery in 1995, becoming the first person in the country to do so openly. While stigma against LGBTQ people remains prevalent – ​​and still does – he continued to host one of China’s most popular talk shows.

China’s most well-known personalities appeared on “The Jin Xing Show”. Brad Pitt once confused Mandarin with him. promoting a movie.

Remembering the first time she shared this purpose with them, Ms. Jin said, “All my close friends made fun of me: ‘China would never let you host a talk show’.” “’How can they let you go on TV with your trans identity?’”

But while Ms. Jin’s extraordinary biography has taken her to an almost legendary level, it has also made her one of the most surprising figures in Chinese pop culture for some.

While she is often praised as a pioneer for the LGBTQ community, she rejects her role as a standard-bearer and criticizes activists she thinks deserve special treatment. “Respect is earned by yourself, not something you want society to give you,” he said.

She also received harsh criticism for her views on femininity. In a 2013 memoir, Ms. Jin wrote that a “smart woman” should make her partner feel that she is “a little girl who needs her.” On “The Jin Xing Show,” the actress told Michelle Ye that she would only feel complete after giving birth.

Ms. Ye said, “You say that as if you just gave birth” I said with an angry smile.

Ms. Jin did not hesitate. “I reincarnated myself,” she said.

Ms. Jin is uncomfortable being called a conservative. He said that if the man was a chauvinist, he would continue to live as a man. It denounced gender-based employment discrimination and described Chinese Women’s Day as an empty commercial holiday. in May, took part in a Dior campaign celebrates the empowerment of women, which she says is the most important thing any woman can be.

Still, she admits she doesn’t want to upset the rules that men set, she just wants to help women better manage those rules.

“What percent of world leaders are queens or female presidents? Still mostly men,” said Ms. Jin. “If men conquer the world to prove themselves, women can beat men to prove themselves.”

Ms. Jin was born in 1967 in Shenyang, northeast China, to an army officer father and a translator mother. In her memoirs, she said she was pleased when family friends compared her to “a lively little girl” because of her love of song and dance.

At the age of 9, he was recruited by a military dance troupe. Ms. Jin wrote that her mother was against this option, but wanted her to continue with normal education instead, not on the basis of gender. In the army, where art was seen as an important propaganda tool, boys and girls could gain prestige by dancing.

As a teenager, Ms. Jin won a dance scholarship to New York in 1991. New York Times described one of his performances as “surprisingly confident”. After spending four years in the United States, he toured Europe – learning French and Italian in addition to the English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese he already knew.

But in 1993, at the age of 26, she returned to China to prepare to come out as transgender.

Ms. Jin said that although she knew she was a woman since she was 6 years old, she didn’t want to announce it until she was ready enough. Transitional surgery, though legal, was heavily stigmatized. She decided to wait until she became one of China’s foremost dancers.

“When you don’t build up enough strength, you can’t be heard,” he said. “When you have enough strength and people can’t knock you down, you can face them.”

His calculation was correct. While some attacked him after surgery, most of the public reception was supportive.

He said that in some ways, China gives transgender people more recognition than gay people. Bao HongweiChinese queer culture expert at the University of Nottingham, UK. Especially in the 1980s and 1990s, surgery was seen as a treatment that allowed transgender people to live within traditional gender roles.

“It supports all gender norms,” Professor Bao said. “I think all this has contributed to China’s media recognition.”

Still, Ms. Jin disregarded the others, even if she conformed to certain norms.

He used read Jin Xing Dance Theater, the country’s first private dance group, in 1999. She became a single mother by adopting three children, although China’s one-child policy is still in effect.

And he managed to blunt the secret of his success on television without apologizing.

Ms. Jin’s television fame began in 2013 when she made occasional abrasive assessments of her rivals on a dance show, earning her the nickname Poison Tongue. In 2015, he channeled this popularity into “The Jin Xing Show.” He was warm and conspiratorial with his guests.

However, he didn’t hesitate to name the celebrities he thought were talentless. He spoke openly about taboo issues, including sex.

It was polarizing but wildly popular, she said, with 100 million people watching her show every week.

Ms. Jin has consistently rejected the idea that her fame is tied to her trans identity.

“Don’t think that I have surgery and that I am a fascinating person. False. “I was very charming as a kid,” she said. “What label do you put on me, man or woman, I’m still a very bright person.”

In 2017, “The Jin Xing Show” was abruptly canceled. At the time, Ms. Jin blamed “little people” who were jealous of her success, but the details of the decision were never made public.

He has since continued to lead the dance troupe, selling merchandise on internet livestreams and hosting matchmaking shows, but none have come close to the popularity of the talk show.

Guo TingA gender studies expert at the University of Hong Kong said the decline in Ms. Jin’s popularity coincided with broader government crackdown on gender activism. Dr. Guo said the state has been trying to promote traditional values ​​recently, although there is no clear link between the two.

Still, others noted that many people in China are more accepting of trans people. They said that they hope Ms. Jin will no longer be the only face of the community – although this is vitally important to acceptance.

“I see Jin Xing as part of our parents’ generation: They’ve made progress in their time, but it may seem outdated to us,” said Jelly Wang, 25, a transgender rights activist in Sichuan Province.

This assessment is fine for Ms. Jin.

“I always acted entirely on my own will,” he said. “It’s okay if I became an idol indirectly for some young people, but I’ve never made myself a leader.

“I have already positively impacted society by living healthy and facing life in a positive way,” he continued. “That’s enough.”

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