History & Culture / Asia Wide

Transgender people in Asia

by Isabella Chua

Transgender people*, along with the rest of LGBTQ+, are frequently depicted as inconsistent with “Asian values”. Yet transgenders have existed in Asia before the Western queer movement was popularised. Trans history is found in Asia’s history; they are reflected and involved in its mythologies, colonial records, rituals, and empires.
*As a disclaimer, calling them “transgender people” may be a misnomer, because it is based on a western language which they may not identify with. We have used “transgender” because it is the closest equivalent to describe these groups and is the term used in academic journals when discussing these groups.