The country's first transsexual twin sisters are expected to complete their surgeries and have their registered gender changed at the police, said the younger of the two, who will be discharged from a local hospital this week.
The younger sister has finished the three phases of surgery to change from "her" to "him," while the older sister will return to the No. 411 Hospital of People's Liberation Army later for the last phase.
"We will go back to our hometown in Yunnan Province for the gender-swap registry after both of us complete the surgeries," said the 25-year-old younger sister, who received the last surgery on August 17.
In China, a person can apply to change the gender on their identity card at a police station after surgery by showing a doctor's testimony.
"I am so happy about the surgeries allowing me to live as a man, which is what I have dreamed since my childhood," said the younger sister, who is identified as Xiaoqing. "Only my parents and a few close friends know about our surgeries. It is unacceptable in a village like my hometown."
"We won't announce the news in the future," said Xiaoqing, who keeps a tomboy haircut and outlook since childhood. "After finishing all the surgeries, my brother and I will move to a new city, look for a new job and start a new life. We may have girlfriends and get married."
The twins are working at a company in Kunming, Yunnan Province. With a monthly income of 6,000 yuan (US$952) together, they saved every penny they earned for medical expenses.
"It is hard, as we saved a certain sum of money and then came to the hospital for surgery," Xiaoqing said. "But we were so happy and looking forward to the surgeries."
The twins said they started to realize they were different from other girls in kindergarten. They never grew long hair or wore skirts. They kept the shared secret from the family until they learned online last year that transsexual surgeries are available in Shanghai. They threatened to never get married as females to win the family's agreement and handled the costs by themselves.
In Shanghai, the cost for surgery to change from male to female is 40,000 to 50,000 yuan, while changing from female to male, which is much more complicated, costs 60,000 yuan.
Dr Zhao Yede, the twins' chief surgeon, said China should be more open and supportive of transsexuals and those with psychosexual traits.
"There is little psychological guidance available to these people, many of whom live under intense pressure from the society, the family and themselves. Some even commit suicide," Zhao said. "All people contacting with us for transsexual surgery will undergo a strict assessment and we will perform surgery only after they show us a diagnosis from a major mental health center."