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Beijing High School Students Shoot a Transgender Movie

A group of high school students in Beijing shot a movie about a transgender pupil

By Zhang Qingchen Updated Jul.26

A film titled Runaway has recently sparked heated debate among students, teachers and parents, since the movie tells a story of a transgender youth, a sensitive topic in China.  

The whole movie from screenwriting to performance and production was shot by a group of high school students at their own expense. The leading role, a male, named Zhang Wang’an, always feels he should be female, but only dares to wear dresses, make up or nail polish when his parents are not at home.   

The choice of such a bold and innovative subject was supported by many students, stating that the film provides the encouragement and comfort to students who are in a critical period in terms of establishing their own gender consciousness. Others admired the courage of the team.  

A large number of parents tend to steer clear of sensitive topics such as this when their children bring it up, and one parent born in the 1970s vehemently argued that the mentality of such a group, referring to transgender people, is distorted and unhealthy, and that they need seek psychological help.   

But a teacher in Beijing, Dai Chong, called for society and schools to reform existing gender education as students are increasingly curious about gender. Dai stressed that incorporating gender education for elementary and junior high school students is necessary, since traditional education neglects the issue, which in part causes problems for children who may be facing uncertainty.