Gay China seen through the eyes of three different media this week
China Daily has an interview of two gay men and a lesbian that also features a big, bold picture of two young men kissing in Beijing. The first story of a 57 year old married man caught our attention:
Tong Ge was married to a woman for more than 20 years, and has raised a son.
But Tong is gay.
“If I could turn back time, I would never have married a woman,” he sighs.
“Even though my wife has forgiven me, I cannot forgive myself, and feel guilty all the time.”
Tong says he has been attracted to the same sex since he was a boy. The son of a rich family, Tong was sent to the countryside to learn from farmers during the “cultural revolution” (1966-76).
His best friend, a former classmate, was willing to follow him. No matter how tough the living conditions got, no matter how poor they were, they were always deeply attached to each other.
One day after both had been drinking, they had sex for the first time.
“It had never crossed our mind that we were gay, and also we had no idea how to define our behavior,” Tong recalls.
Two years later, his friend was called to the city. It would be the darkest moment in Tong’s life – having to say farewell to his first lover… [Read more]
TIME Magazine‘s Simon Elegant visits a heaving gay bar in Beijing and is surprised to find that young gay people in China seem to be oblivious to what their predecessors went through:
Xiao Wang, as he is introduced to me, is propped up against a wall in one of the bars. The 29-year-old architect, who sports a discreet stud earring and a fresh razor cut, looks puzzled when I ask him about the drawbacks of being gay in Beijing, whether he gets hassled by the authorities? “Hassled for what? Being gay?” He laughs. “Why would they want to do that?”
There’s never been a better time to be gay in China, but as Destination’s somewhat schizophrenic combination of outer reserve and inner exuberance demonstrates, it still pays to be careful. Beijing’s attitude has been described as a Triple No policy: no approval, no disapproval, no promotion. That hands-off approach — a sort of commercial don’t ask, don’t tell policy — is emblematic of the delicacy with which the Communist regime is learning to deal with many of the issues concerning personal liberties that are increasingly being raised by its burgeoning middle class. For their part, homosexuals in China seem perfectly happy to pursue their lives within the broad boundaries allowed by the government, albeit not without the occasional snipe at the authorities. It’s no coincidence, for example, that the once ubiquitous term tongzhi — comrade — is now only heard as a slang term among young Chinese for gay men… [Read more]
Meanwhile, Fridae‘s Dinah Gardner finds out that parents of gay children in China are beginning to not only accept their sexuality but coming together to help other families in the same situation:
…when 18-year-old Zheng Yuantao in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou told his mother he liked boys, he must have been delighted by her reaction. Wu Youjian didn’t cry, introduce him to hot women or disown him. Instead she taught herself how to use a computer, got herself a Sina blog, and put their story online in the hope she could help other gay and lesbian children come out to their parents. In just six months her site had clocked up 100,000 hits and she had earned the affection of hundreds of gays and lesbians who now call her Auntie Wu.
Wu, a writer and editor by profession and a self-confessed liberal, said she found it easy to deal with her son’s sexuality because by the time, “Yuantao came out to me… I had read a lot of gay-themed books and movies (by his recommendation). Besides he had also been a good boy in school and in the family; he never made us worried.”
And therein lies the key, she says. If you want to come out to your parents do some groundwork first and feed your parents information on what being gay is all about before coming out to them. “Always make sure your parents have some understanding and acceptance of homosexuality before coming out to them,” she advises… [Read more]
Photo from 2006台灣同志大遊行與台北同玩節shows scene during the Taipei Pride in 2006. Will this be possible in mainland China some day?