Teaching English while Transgender in Taiwan

Hi, I am a licensed high school teacher from the USA. I am also transgender. Are there any trans teachers on here that could tell me about their experience? Or anyone who knows trans teachers in Taiwan? Is it unrealistic for me to think about obtaining employment in Taiwan as a teacher for being trans? I understand if there are some difficulties–there are plenty here–but would like to know before committing to something in Taiwan.

I knew a trans woman about a decade ago who taught in a buxiban in Taoyuan. She then moved down to Miaoli and basically ran a school there. She would occasionally wear women’s clothing around town in her free time, but she was gender neutral when teaching.

I am no longer in touch with her. However, it shows that trans women can land buxiban work.

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There is at least one that owns a school.

Is that someone else? The trans woman I knew was made kind of manager of a school, director of studies I guess. She didn’t own it or have any financial investment.

Don’t know details. Daytime out male gay. Nighttime out trans.

I’ve known gay, bi, and people who consider themselves gender binary (The one where they can be male sometimes and female sometimes) who have taught in Taiwan. I think it’s very possible.

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To be clear, my gender presentation is and would be female all the time. I’ve been transitioning/out as trans for years at this point, and “pass” maybe half the time in public.

You are also probably thinking of gender queer, not gender binary.

Last year we heard from two members who identify as non-binary, one American and one Taiwanese. They might have some thoughts to share.

I believe one or both have left taiwan though. Maybe they will still chime in.

I used to talk to this girl who lived in the shithole countryside area I used to live that didn’t have any issue living or working here. She would “pass” all the time and had no issue gettin a job teaching and didn’t face any ‘discrimination’, beyond the typical “oh, I didn’t know, you look so pretty” comments. This older and fatter neck beard dude worked with her and he experienced way more issues with mangers and parents, due to the fact he looked kinda creepy and came off as strange/stinky. In Taiwan, IMO looks are extremely important. Most Taiwanese don’t give a shit who you or where you come from are as long as you’re attractive.

People in Taiwan still attach their photo to their resumes. My mother in law owns some company and deals with the hiring of dudes for IT positions. If someone has acne or is “too fat” she will quickly click through their resume and move on to the next more attractive one. Yikes… i know :disappointed:

I saw your other post and it looks like you are extremely qualified to teach here. I wouldn’t worry about anything as long as you “pass” and are not super fat or something. :blush:

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Thanks that’s very helpful!

Still, I don’t pass all the time just some. But not usually with my voice. My gender expression is definitely clearly female though.

I managed to get in touch with someone who is queer and taught in Taiwan last year. They seemed to think that it would depend on the school (same situation here in the US though), but that I probably wouldn’t have much trouble from admin at work as a foreigner once I was hired at least. She said there was more of an “as long as it’s not my kid,” mentality towards LGBT people in Taiwan.

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As long as.you don’t tell other people how to behave like the ‘they’ person earlier , I would avoid like the plague. Live and let live.

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What’s "they"person.?

11 posts were split to a new topic: Pronouns

I’m trans and teach in a fairly small city. For better or for worse, trans issues aren’t in the spotlight here. I’ve found I “pass” better in Taiwan than I did in the states – variances in mannerisms or physical traits are just attributed to being a foreigner. I’m short and somewhat effeminate, but I present as male and my passport says male so my employer and coworkers don’t question that. If I weren’t also here with my girlfriend, they’d probably assume I were gay. A couple of months into teaching a class of younger students, I did hear my students discussing whether I was a boy or a girl with regards to which pronoun to use for me during an activity. We established male pronouns were appropriate and that was that. Kids are super chill.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much insight into employer attitude if you feel like you don’t have much choice in disclosure. Please feel free to send me a message!

My friend is gay, and he is a teacher in Taiwan. Taiwan is supposed to be free of gender discrimination. Also, they approved LGBT marriage about 2 days ago. If you have qualifications to teach, then why not? I don’t see any problem.

The problem is what supposed to happen by law, and what people think, can be completely opposite.

I think the poster is wise to try and get a feel for people’s attitudes before making a commitment.

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I would say you’d face many problems of discrimination it has been done but it is not easy there are many other countries that will be easier and more fulfilling for you such as Brazil and Thailand. Good luck as to whatever your choice but I’d strongly advise you against it.

Don’t let the passing of a recent law allowing gay marriage fool you into thinking everything is smooth sailing here for LGBTs. It’s not.

I teach as a profession at a private school here in Taiwan. Many teachers I work with are gay / lesbian. Nobody bats an eye because they don’t flaunt their sexual preference.

Everyone is fine with someone else being LGBT, but when it affects them directly, things can get uncomfortable. People know this here, so they keep it to themselves while at work. At least where I have worked.

Almost all schools here are businesses. If you are a perceived threat to the well being of the business, you will be let go without a second thought.

Image is everything. The bosses, deans, principals, PTA etc are all from the older generations who don’t generally accept the LGBT life style. They are the ones doing the hiring.

2 candidates with identical qualifications side by side. One is white, one is not white. The white will be hired. Tattoos and no tattoos, no tattoos will be hired. Handsome, blemish free vs. unattractive with acne…handsome gets the job.

That is the reality of what you are up against.

You also must realize that kids are inquisitive by nature. They will notice. They will ask questions about you to their parents. If even one parent is uncomfortable, they can destroy your job security in a split second.

If you are 100% passable. Looks, voice and mannerisms, then you could possibly land a job with an open minded employer and avoid being poked, proded and questioned by students, colleagues and parents.

If you are not 100% passable yet, but prefer dressing as the gender of your choice, your chances of landing a job are slim to none.

There is a beautician at the place where I get my hair cut who is MTF. She is 100% passable, including the voice. The only thing that would make anyone raise an eyebrow is her height, hands and shoe size. Everything else is very feminine. I’ve talked to her about her transition and experience being transgender in Taiwan. It wasn’t and isn’t easy for her. Family and friends cut her off, nobody would hire her, people would always stare, etc. She had to make her own life surrounded by opposition to everything she did. She surrounded herself with other LGBTs and eventually opened her own hair salon.

She said in Taiwan, being transgender requires you to have very thick skin. People will already stare at you and talk about you just being foreign looking. Compound that with being transgender and you get the picture. Every place you go people will stare and talk behind your back. You must be prepared to accept that and be ok with it. You can’t let it trigger you.

She suggests if you are not passable yet, then present as male when teaching. Keep your private life 100% to yourself. Delete any social media accounts that are linked to your official name. Kids and parents will Google you and they will out you.

She also suggested the possibility of presenting as masculine lesbian. There are many here and are accepted by society much more easily. But this means you would have to lie. You have to ask yourself if you are ok with that.

The last hurdle and probably the most important is your hormone supply. Do you have a plan as to how you will obtain it in Taiwan? Importing is not always an option because of restrictions, etc. You would need to see a physician here about getting a steady prescription. I strongly advise you against self prescribing. That is extremely dangerous.

I wish you the best of luck!

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OP, I think you will probably be fine. I could definitely see a non-binary person and/or someone who does not pass and/or someone who whines incessantly about being misgendered because they have no personality otherwise running into some trouble here, but I think you’ll be ok.

In the end the pronoun thing is a luxury only those in the west have the time, energy, and freedom to bicker about, and everyone is bound to get misgendered by the locals here anyway just by nature of the language.