Mr. C doesn't want his full name to appear in the press because his family members “all work for the government," he told BuzzFeed News via messaging app WeChat.
The alleged reason for his firing is simple enough: Mr. C was wearing men's clothing in the office. "They say I'm lesbian and that I damage the company's images," Mr. C, on the left in the above picture, told The Paper, a progressive-leaning, though still state-controlled, Chinese news outlet.
"My litigant is a transgender man, but in mainland China, nobody really know what that means," Mr. C's lawyer, Huang Sha, told BuzzFeed News. "His ID card [which shows his gender] is female, but he dresses like a man, so the sales manager suspected that Mr. C is gay." Huang said they have recordings of more than one similar conversation between Mr. C and his former manager.
According to a survey published by Aibai Culture and Education Center, a Chinese LGBT nonprofit, a majority of the more than 2,000 respondents have encountered discrimination and unfair treatment in workplaces.
Mr. C's case is the country's first transgender labor discrimination case, according to Li Yinhe, a prestigious sociologist whose partner is also a trans man. Li also noted that the result of the case might have a significant impact on the Chinese LGBT community's ability to defend their rights in the workplace in the future.