It was a warm Saturday morning in central Shanghai as joggers flooded the city’s downtown area with bright paint and rainbow track socks. After a brief stretch session, with little to dispel the rumors, dozens of participants began a three-mile run to mark this year’s Shanghai pride festival.
This is the 10th year that China’s largest city has celebrated the annual LGTBQ celebration. “Is the theme of the 2018 our communities, our identity, our pride”, and held more than 40 individual activities, including pink brunch, sexual harassment team consciousness, trivia night, film festival and so on.
“We didn’t expect us to organize 10 of them,” said Charlene Liu, a shanghai-based co-founder of pride. “I was proud to come out of Shanghai. I was proud to meet my wife through Shanghai, so today is very exciting for us.”
Historically, China has a close relationship with homosexuality. Ancient Chinese Chronicles celebrated gay relations, and emperors often had gay tragedies, though abandonment took root in the late qing dynasty’s efforts to westernize.
Read more: the man was classified as gay in China. Now he’s fighting back.
Although today officially atheist ruling communist party is not about LGTBQ lifestyle ideological baggage – with Islam or Catholic countries – for example, strong Confucian influence has a huge impact on traditional family.
Homosexuality was officially decriminalized in 1997 and remained a “mental illness” until 2001. Gay marriage remains illegal and there are no laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Many of the older generation still see homosexuality as a foreign concept of corruption.
When MAO came out as a homosexual, her family was initially supportive. “But to protect me, they don’t want me to publicly disclose my homosexuality,” said the 37-year-old engineer. “Although my girlfriend’s mother acknowledges our relationship, she clearly tells us we shouldn’t talk about it in front of people she knows.”
Mainstream Chinese media continue to routinely censor gay content. In April, sina weibo, China’s largest social media platform, was forced to apologize after removing LGTBQ content, triggering an almighty backlash. The authoritarian Chinese government has also praised any large-scale mobilization, even good companies like pride.
Read more: Chinese censors have taken popular gay dramas offline and audiences unhappy
Brian Song to help organize The Shanghai pride of The Journey of Light chorus concert, this is a problem, The concert brings together seven LGBT friendly chorus, from all over China in preparation for The festival in both Chinese and English songs.
“We are a little worried that maybe our concert will be cancelled because of the current media environment for LGBT people,” he said. “We’re not really free to promote our community right now.”