An 84-year-old calligrapher in southern China's Guangdong Province who started to wear women's clothes and took hormones to enlarge his breasts four years ago is the oldest man in China known to want surgery to change his gender.
Qian Jinfan decided to disclose his secret four years ago, and gave himself the feminine name Yiling. He said he wanted to become a woman since he was three and concealed the secret until he was 80.
"I thought it was great to be a girl since then," Qian told Nanfang Daily. "When I was around 14, I like swaying my hips when walking and posing in feminine gestures. But I only showed the real me when I was alone."
Qian deceived his parents, wife and son all these years. They never thought he was a transgender person though he wore long hair, bell-bottoms and tight clothes since the 1980s, the paper said.
"The current me is the real me," said Qian, dressed in leopard-patterned sun top, adding that "the past 80 years covered the true me."
He told the newspaper that he tried to take pills to look more like a woman in the 1960s, but gave up.
Qian said he has longed for transsexual surgery, but the procedure always seemed too risky and complicated.
In September 2009, Qian wrote a letter to the Foshan Cultural, Radio, TV, Film, Press and Publication Bureau in Guangdong Province, where he retired, to express his intention.
"I didn't write the letter on impulse. I didn't care whether the authority would degrade my ranking or decrease my income," he said.
After revealing his secret, his relatives, friends and the bureau have shown understanding.
"I had prepared to die to defend my decision. To my surprise, they were all very open and accepted it," he said.
The calligrapher now lives like a woman. He goes to women's restrooms and his wife is willing to go out with her female-dressed husband, the paper said.