While we were getting gussied up for the Shanghaiist Valentine’s Day party, homosexuals in Beijing were taking to the streets in a remarkably open advocation of gay marriage.
About thirty protesters dressed in wedding gowns or suits and walked hand-in-hand, posing for wedding photos along the main drag of Beijing’s Qianmen Avenue (and, according to the organizers, three other cities).
Their goal was to win more acceptance of the gay community. Same-sex marriage is forbidden in China, but while homosexuality has been struck off the list of psychiatric disorders and thereby effectively decriminalized, the official party line when it comes to gay issues remains the three no’s — no support, no prohibition, no promotion (“不支持，不反对，不提倡”). While the demonstration drew a mixed bag of reactions – smiles and support, gasps of surprise, scorn and annoyance – nobody, not even the police, tried to interfere.
Responses on the internet were equally divided, according to the WSJ:
One person responded to a news story on the protest by asking women not to date other women anymore. “Make some contributions to the tens of millions of single males [in China],” this person wrote, alluding to China’s current gender imbalance.
Another said heterosexual unions weren’t necessarily better: “Love is love, and there is no specific reason. Who can say that there is no real love between them? How many males and females end up in divorce?”