A letter written by members of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG China) was delivered to China’s first lady Peng Liyuan recently urging further legislation against gay discrimination and equal rights for their children, according to a report by SCMP.
The letter, delivered by express mail, was signed for on Tuesday by a member of staff in People’s Liberation Army Academy of Arts, where Peng, a WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/Aids, served as its rector. Earlier, China’s State Council AIDS Working Committee had announced that the agenda of this year’s World Aids Day (WAD) on December 1 would be “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero Aids-related deaths”.
The group in the letter said that through their volunteer work with the gay and lesbian community and their own families, they had learnt that the gay male community had a higher rate of HIV infection than average.
“Among a multitude of factors, social prejudice and discrimination are important reasons,” the letter reads. “As mothers, upon finding out that our children are LGBT, we have felt alarmed, at a loss, and even momentarily given up all hope. But what we think about the most still remains: will our children suffer discrimination within society?”
The group decided to reach out to Peng Liyuan because of her role as the Goodwill Ambassador and because of her recent appearance in a public interest film, according to one of the mothers.
“She is full of loving kinds in the film, running with children under the sunshine. Like us, she is a mother and will share our concern in children’s health,” the mother surnamed Dong was quoted as saying in the SCMP report.
A report from Xinhua earlier this year stated that 1,700 students were reported as HIV positive in 2012, 64.8 percent of which cases were attributable to homosexual contact.
Mothers like Dong, who came across cases of young gay people being abandoned by family members or losing jobs after being infected with HIV, are working to draw awareness to the issue.
“Discrimination and misunderstanding will drive homosexuals toward more despair and risk. It is our ‘Chinese Dream’ to call for equal rights for our children,” Dong was quoted as saying in the report.
In December of last year, President Xi Jingping met with HIV and AIDS sufferers at a Beijing clinic and said that “All HIV carriers and AIDS patients are our brothers and sisters, and the whole society should light their life with love.”
“HIV/AIDS is not terrible in itself, but what is really dreadful is the ignorance on HIV/AIDS and the prejudice against AIDS patients,” he added.