Feminist activist research

Last year we have had the pleasure of learning about gender inequalities and issues from Chinese feminists and women’s rights activists as part of our ongoing research project on feminist activists in mainland China. Our project focuses on increasing our understanding of what feminists aim to do and how they operate. These activists are operating in an increasingly constrained political and regulatory environment, and are dealing with crucial issues in the country where gender inequalities are rife and intersecting and related to female poverty, harassment and violence, health issues and as well as negative experiences of trans and intersex people (this is an non-exhaustive list).

The study carried out qualitative interviews with Chinese feminists and explores the underlying meanings of the concepts and aims of these feminists. We are interested in understanding crucial gender inequalities and how these are addressed in mainland China. Through the research we hope to learn about how social problems are defined, what the unmet issues are and how these may be addressed. We are also learning, learnings that can be adopted in other countries, about the creative approaches taken in activism in a difficult and constrained environment. The results of these interviews will be used to set up a larger scale survey of feminists with a particular focus on younger feminist activists across the PCR, and followed up with qualitative interviews in areas outside of the eastern urbanised belts of PCR. The survey will explore a range of views and experiences of feminists, with the goal of understanding their aims, approaches to feminist fights and also how they seek to make changes.

We are currently finalising the first stage of the project and have so far presented preliminary findings at the Asian Dynamics annual conference in Copenhagen. If you want to get involved, or hear about the project – feel free to contact us!

Mapping out the needs and wants of trans and gender diverse people in China

Whilst the topic of trans people has been written about from a cultural and historical lens (Chiang, 2012), too little research has been done to explore the modern lives of trans people. Whilst there are now over a hundred LGB organisations active in China, few are aware and/or working with trans and gender diverse people. As a radical feminist organisation, we are always looking for ways to explore new conversations and topics in the society. Within the growing LGBTQIA+ movement in mainland China, the voices of trans and gender diverse people have been somewhat invisible, if heard at all. We have seen increasing social dialogue around lesbian, gay, and bisexual topics, which are sometimes framed as LGBT issues without making conscious inclusive space for the “T” in LGBT.

TransChina 2016 is an attempt to give an exclusive space for those voices and start a new conversation in the Chinese society on gender diversity issues – be it within or outside the LGBTQIA+ movement. It is also an opportunity to unite the brave voices of trans and gender diverse people throughout China, and create a chance for activists and advocates to share and inspire each other.

The TransChina 2016 project aims to map out the present knowledge and resources available and establish the most pressing need of the trans and gender diverse community as well as directions for further advocacy.