Clad in a fur shawl, a black silk dress and blood-red six-inch heels, Chao Xiaomi struts down a Beijing alley.

Jaws drop. Some stare in awe. Others point and laugh. And some shake their heads and snicker.
But Chao, who is biologically male but identifies as “gender fluid” and goes as “she,” is used to it. She says a common question she gets from strangers is “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”
She’s one of the few transgender people in China who isn’t afraid to live their lives openly and proudly.