Liu Ting, 28, born male, became well known in China after being named a “national role model of virtue” back in 2007. Today, now as a woman, she is all over the Chinese news following multiple successful gender reassignment procedures, drawing attention to LGBT and gender issues.

Netizens throughout China are commenting on how beautiful Liu looks, and there is a level of openness about her gender reassignment and gender identity. Liu’s own mother, Lu Yongmin, has also expressed her desire for Liu to be happily married some day.

Back in 2007, Liu received the National Award for her role in single-handedly caring for her mother, famously carrying her to hospital on her back after she fell ill with uremia. She did this all the way up until her university graduation in her native Zhejiang province. The prize is a way for the Chinese authorities to promote filial piety and children’s continuing care for their parents. 

However, some of her friends have mentioned that Liu always seemed a little bit lost as a man. Liu confirms this, telling that she has been dreaming of being a woman for a long time. As part of this transition, Liu Ting changed the character for her first name ting (霆) to the more gender neutral homophone 婷.

Various reports in the Chinese media indicate a change in attitude towards LGBT issues and gender identity issues. According to Al Jazeera, Chinese authorities even allowed Liu to change her gender on official paperwork before she underwent surgery.

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