Filmmaker Quentin Lee has released China’s first-ever pro-LGBT PSA on QueerComrades.com with the help of a volunteer cast and crew. The PSA has been made to stream on mobile devices and was produced with the help of Xiaogang Wei, the founder of China’s first AIDS walk.
The PSA, created in a short fictional format, follows a gay man and a lesbian who decide to marry one another to appease the woman’s conservative parents.
The orchestration of fake marriages as a way to escape societal pressure is a story all-too-common within China’s LGBT community.
Reportedly, an estimated 70 percent of all gay men in China marry women, resulting in about 16 million women who are now labelled ‘tongqi’, which would loosely translate to ‘homo-wife’. Homosexuality is still very controversial in China (it was listed as a mental illness until 2001) and many people enter into heterosexual marriages just to appease their families and to have children.
Lee said in a press release: “When I was working in China earlier this year, I took the subway in Beijing every day and I saw people glued to their mobile devices watching content. I just thought it would be great to make a short web PSA for mobile devices to empower LGBT people in China….One of my Beijing lesbian friends told me that she was about to get married with a gay man because she wanted to get her parents off her back, and I was immediately inspired to do something about how young Chinese people, LGBT and beyond, are pressured to get married which is a really hot issue right now.”
“I chose the short fictional PSA format because it’s the best way to get the message out to Chinese audience on the web. The Chinese government is still relaxed on short film production. As all LGBT content is potentially subject to being banned in China, it’s a challenge to do something that talks about LGBT issues while being acceptable,” he added.
Last month, members of China’s Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG China) collectively wrote a letter to First Lady Peng Liyuan urging further legislation against gay discrimination and equal rights for their children.
“Discrimination and misunderstanding will drive homosexuals toward more despair and risk. It is our ‘Chinese Dream’ to call for equal rights for our children,” said one of the mothers in the group.