Unable to attend ShanghaiPRIDE in person, legendary British actor Sir Ian McKellen delivered a special video message to those attending ShanghaiPRIDE Film Festival.
The gay rights icon encouraged the Chinese LGBT community to fight for their rights as much as they can in order to make society a better and more loving place. “It will be a long march, but you will get there in the end,” McKellen said.
Watch his full message below:
Hello, it’s lan McKellen. I’m a gay man, and I’m sending love to everyone at ShanghaiPRIDE.
I’m so sorry I’m not with you, I have to be in London. But I have been on many pride occasions. Millions of people marching in San Francisco and in New York, hundreds of thousands marching in London and across Europe, and it’s always the same. We meet with our friends, and we feel better about our lives. And although you are not marching, you’re gathered together. And you are together. And that’s the way you are going to make your own lives happier, and the lives of other people who don’t yet know how wonderful life can be, when they can be out, and honest, and accepted by their families, their friends and society. That won’t happen, of course, unless you carry on.
So that’s my message to you: Do it!
Over the years in the United Kingdom, we talked to the politicians, we made our case, we spoke about our rights, we stood up for ourselves, and basically we were honest. And our families came together, and our friends came together, and together, we did it.
I send you all my love. It will be a long march, but you will get there in the end.
Chinese LGBT activists have been working hard on making progress this Gay Pride Month. A gay man in Henan has sued a mental hospital that tried to forcefully “cure” his homophobia, gender-neutral bathrooms have been introduced at many Beijing bars, a lesbian student has sued the government over homophobic textbooks and an unprecedented 190 Chinese LGBT groups issued a collective statement condemning last Sunday’s massacre inside a gay nightclub in Orlando.
McKellen has been busy this month as well. He was spotted looking for love out at the Shanghai marriage market, and all around China celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by posing with placards emblazoned with a quotes from Shakespeare’s plays.
Until next time, Sir Ian!
By Sophie Wang
[Video via ShanghaiPRIDE]