A man surnamed Han in central China is suing the government after officials refused his application to register a gay organization, saying that homosexuality is ‘against the construction of cultural and ideological progress.’
Han, of Changsha, Hunan Province, filed a lawsuit against the Hunan Department of Civil Affairs (HDCA) on Wednesday. He has accused authorities of defamation in their response to his application. Officials told him that the organization “has no legal basis”.
Han and his friends created an online campaign for same sex rights in 2009 and focused on organizing anti-discrimination activities in Changsha.
On December 24th, 2009, the group organized a pride parade on a pedestrian street in the city, waving rainbow flags and donning “GAY” t-shirts. Only some 10 people participated in the event.
On November 24th, 2012, the team expanded to 21 people and began drawing in public interest. The activity had approved by city’s public security organ.
On May 17, 2013, Han launched another anti-discrimination event, and more than 100 gays and lesbians attended. The group, however, did not apply to the city’s public security bureau for approval and some members were detained for 12 days.
At the end of 2013, [Han] made multiple visits to Changsha’s civil affairs bureau to consult about registering a gay organization, but staff told him on each occasion that such groups “cannot be registered at the moment.”
He later filled out a form requesting the reasons for the refusal and turned it in to the HDCA, which replied that organizations should act in accordance with morals, and that gay organizations, which are “against tradition and the construction of cultural and ideological progress,” should therefore not be established.
“That statement is detrimental to the reputation of the gay community,” [Han] said, adding that the statement should be retracted and that the HDCA should issue an apology. Despite [Han’s] strong protests, the HDCA has failed to make any replies to him yet.
In 2007, netizens took part in a survey gauging public attitude towards homosexuality. The survey included 400 people, including Changsha participants. According to results, the public is generally tolerant to the LGBT communities, with ninety-one percent of respondents agreeing that homosexuals and heterosexuals should have equal employment opportunities. More than 80 percent of the respondents agreed that gays and straights are treated equal in China.
By Isabel Quan