The United Kingdom Pavilion gets a LGBT makeover.
Despite coming under fire from the Chinese government, a LGBT organization managed to overcome all odds and sponsor an actual LGBT Expo event at the U.K. Pavilion yesterday.
Co-organized by the British Consulate-General, it was a small but significant echo to London’s Gay Pride celebrations last week. 30 members of Shanghai’s LGBT community got together and raised a rainbow flag, sitting and talking next to the Seed Cathedral. Kathryn Rand, organizer from the British Embassy, considers the “LGBT community…a part of UK life.” Up in Beijing, the British Embassy also held their own LGBT shindig.
“Pressured” by officials wary of the event, the LGBT group did very little advertising. Even as of now, there is no mention of the event on the U.K. Pavilion’s front page.
This is not the first time an LGBT event has met with some wariness from officials. Last summer’s Shanghai Pride was the first Pride event ever held in China. While most of it went off without a hitch, authorities intervened halfway through and two of the festival’s events were canceled.
But organizers aren’t letting that stop them from planning another one. According to China Daily, Shanghai’s second Gay Pride will occur “…when the Expo ends. It will feature an expanded version of the Gay Olympics that debuted last June, as well as a pink picnic and a pool party.”
And this time, they’re hoping to reach out even more to the Chinese community, where traditional mores make it even tougher than normal to come out of the closet :
“We want to have more of a Chinese Pride this year, not just one that’s all about foreigners having a party,” said Linda Li, a member of Shanghai LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender), which organizes the festival and is mostly run by ex-pats.
“We’re hoping to align ourselves more with the Asian gay community as a whole,” said Li.