One male student at Beijing’s Renmin University planned a special way to confess his love for his fellow classmate. The guy carefully created a heart out of lights and stood in the middle, as a crowd gathered around to watch, while he awaited the arrival of his beloved.
This sort of thing happens seemingly every week at some university in China, but this time, there was a twist — the target of the guy’s affections was another male student.
“I will walk up to you slowly, not to ask you to go play basketball, but to kiss you,” the student told the man of his dreams before sealing the deal with a kiss as the crowd burst into cheers all around them. D’awwwwwwww. <3
However, pictures from the public confession were soon posted onto Weibo, where netizens weren’t nearly so supportive.
“While we may respect homosexuals, it doesn’t mean we have to cheer for them,” argued one netizen.
“How disgusting! If they want to kiss they shouldn’t do it in public like that. It makes me sick!” echoed another.
“What mental hospital forgot to close the front door?” wrote another lovely web user.
Which is not to say that all netizens were bigots in this case.
“Good for you! Don’t worry about what other people have to say. It just matters that you are happy,” reads one of the top comments.
But overall, the comments are a bit of a downer. Especially considering a UN report released last week found that China’s younger generation is becoming “more open and accepting of sexual diversity than their parents with two-thirds of people born after 1990 saying that they “don’t mind getting close to” someone who is LGBT.
These kinds of views expressed on Weibo are likely why only 1 in 20 of China’s LGBT community is fully open about that aspect of their half. Half of them are not open about their sexual or gender identity in school and only one-fourth are out of the closet in their own workplace.
In recent years, more and more is being done by Chinese gay activists to help people feel safe about coming out. Last week, a gay couple in Changsha held a high-profile wedding after a court ruled against their right to marry the week before. That couple plans to hold 99 more gay weddings across China to help spread awareness and acceptance.
Last year, a gay man proposed to his boyfriend on the Beijing Metro, drawing mostly cheers from fellow commuters. Just this month, the US Consul General in Shanghai married his Taiwanese same-sex partner in San Francisco, and later posted the pics on Weibo, where they were met with well wishes.
Even with these heartwarming examples, there is still a lot of work to be done for China’s LGBT activists. Listed as a mental illness until 2001, homosexuality is not illegal in China, though, as of yet, gay couples don’t have the legal rights or privileges afforded to heterosexual couples. Chinese labor law contains an anti-discrimination clause that covers ethnicity, religion and sex — but not gender or sexual identity. China’s new domestic violence law does not apply to gay couples and recently Chinese censors have been cracking down on “immoral content,” including depictions of homosexuality in the media.
At the same time, treatment centers across the country are trying to “cure” patients’ homosexuality through electro-shock therapies and exorcisms.
[Images via Weibo / Ifeng // h/t What’s on Weibo]