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La favola di Jin Xing
..with the people who make you happy and strong, anything can come true...

Cina: da un posto qualsiasi..

Jin Xing was born on August 13, 1967 in Shenyang, Liaoning, China.

Even though she is ethnically Korean, she self-identifies as Chinese, as was born and has lived there China her whole life.

She was assigned male at birth.

From a very young age, she expressed her interest in dancing, and at age 9 joined the People's Liberation Army.

As well as becoming a member of the military dance troupe, she also received dance and military training, and this strongly impacted her childhood.

She didn't see her parents often even though they lived nearby, and was practically brought up by the army.

"Rules were rules.

They didn't treat you like a kid anymore - you were in the military."

Even though she admits that she suffered both mental and physical abuse, she confirms that this gave her determination and resilience that would prove invaluable for the rest of her life.

She won her first national dance championship at 17, and graduated with the rank of colonel.

She was soon aware of a dance scholarship funded by a cultural exchange program in New York.

Wanting to experience more than the country she'd lived in her entire life, she worked hard to get it.

She moved to New York City in her teens.

In the beginning, she thought that people would know of her:
hadn't she just won the title of the best male dancer in China?

But she soon learnt that
"In New York, you start from the ground, start from scratch again".

And so she did.

Working many jobs to make ends meet while studying dance during the day time, she was able to test her determination to her fullest, even though she was away from the strict Chinese military regimen.

Being abroad also gave her the chance to explore her sexuality and gender identity.

She had always felt different than the sex she was assigned at birth, ever since the young age of six.
Now in America, she wanted to truly discover herself.

She went to gay bars but came to the conclusion that she wasn't homosexual.

But when she learnt of individuals who were transgender and transsexual, she found herself.

While this was happening, her career in America skyrocketed.

She won numerous awards at prestigious dance festivals, and had publications such as The New York Times complement her and tell her story.

Even though she had many offers from dance companies in America, she wanted to travel and see the world first, before settling down.

She went to Europe, where she learnt Italian and French in addition to her first two languages being Mandarin and English.

She taught dance in Rome for a few years, and then continued her voyages across countries.

Jin Xing returned to China when she was 26, a new person.

Even though she could've undergone the surgery anywhere else in the world, she still chose to come back to China.

It was symbolic, for her, to be 'reborn' into her motherland, close to her friends and family.

Her mother fully accepted her.

She was more scared of coming out to her father.

She says, "I talked to him and said, 'Your boy [is going to] become a girl'.

My father was silent for one minute and took out a cigarette, and he looked at me and said, 'Finally matched.

You can find a video with her coming out story on

She underwent the 16-hour-surgery at age 28, which was documented by the press and became a national sensation as she was the first openly transgender celebrity in mainland China.

But something went wrong during the surgery because of a lack of oxygen in her left leg, leaving her paralyzed.

This meant her dance career would end.
She says,
"I wanted to jump to my death at that moment.
Dancing is my life.
How can I live without it?"

After fighting through a year of rigorous physiotherapy, she succeeded in being able to move her leg again.

And when she did, she performed for the first time, as a woman, in Beijing.
Her famous words from that moment are,
"I've never cried onstage, but that time I cried, when I took the final bow.

I was thinking, 'Yes, I got back my (place on) stage and I've got back my leg'."

Known for her sharp tongue, she was invited as a judge on the China's first season of So You Think You Can Dance, and had her own nationally broadcast show, The Jin Xing Show, less than a year later.

She continued until 2017, before starting a dating show called Chinese Dating.

Here, parents decide on a good wife for their sons.

Even though the show received criticism, she defended it by saying,
"I still want to give people the idea that even when young people fall in love today in the 21st century, when it comes to marriage, their families still have a huge influence (…)

Some people tell me,
'you support male chauvinism'.

And I say no, no, nothing to do with me.

Drop the show, look at me, what I've done by myself."

Now, she holds the honor of "Literature and Arts Knight" from the French Ministry of Culture.

She was also granted an honorary doctoral degree in dance arts by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

She adopted three children (Julian, Leo, and Vivian) from orphanages in China, and married German businessman Heinz-Gerd Oidtmann afterwards.

Jin Xing has received lots of criticism because of her dance, sexuality, children, husband, and shows, but is proud with how far she's gone.

She is an inspiration, and proof that with hard work, persistence, and surrounding yourself with the people who make you happy and strong, anything can come true.

Cortesia di L.B.

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