As previously mentioned, there is much debate over whether Bouriscot knew that Shi Pei Pu was a man and was attracted to men. He even acknowledged his early feelings for men in some of his writings. He also revealed that he had only had sexual relations with men while he was at school.
There is also debate as to whether Shi Pei Pu was masquerading as a man as part of an espionage mission or if he simply identitified as a woman. I think that this is where the idea of sex vs. gender is critical to understanding Shi Pei Pu’s gender identification. Shi Pei Pu’s sex is what ze was biologically. Ze’s gender was how ze identified: as a woman, as a man, or something other than that. Thus it is possible that Shi Pei Pu was a transvestite or transgender and really identified as a woman. Some members of the transgender* even hail this play as a transgender work.