I had little knowledge about sexual and reproductive health before my internship in Advocates for Youth. To get more information on sexual and reproductive health related issues, I have been reading blogs from a previous Chinese intern, and here are my thoughts on some of the content related to the gay community in China.
The intern mentioned that her family does not support her work 100% because the Chinese culture can be conservative. That’s so true! For example, the other day, I was talking to my friends about the internship I am doing at Advocates, and we talked about the gay friends we know. Because my two friends come from the same university, they exchanged information and they were really in shock when they came to know that someone they knew is gay. I was deep in thought after this conversation. My friends think they are open enough and they strive for basic human rights. They think that because they come from good college, have gained a good education, are from big cities and know a lot about the gay and transgender communities, that they can accept them and be kind. However, when we find out that someone we know is gay, we are surprised. We talk about it. We gossip. We dig out his boyfriend. We think we can accept it and be cool, but we cannot.
I have seen a documentary called “Analyzing Chinese Gays” (translation of the title by the author) that details the experiences of Chinese gay folks who want to marry heterosexuals because of the pressure from their families, communities and society. This is sad because I am not sure if any of the parties will be happy in this kind of marriage? Unfortunately, this was the destiny of many in old China, and sadly, this situation continues. Many parents still think that their child’s sexual orientation can be changed through heterosexual marriage or psychological guidance. They think they can understand “homosexuality” as a social phenomenon, but they cannot accept their own child as gay.
One parent in the organization named PFLAG China (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays ) that provides support to parents of LGBTQ people in China mentioned that she has been through several stages to eventually accept her gay son, from first passively accepting the identity of her son to full acceptance and from then to eventually volunteer and help other parents. She said that the gay community in China should first accept themselves and after “coming out of the closet”, they can give more guidance and care to their parents.
According to a documentary called “Charity China: PFLAG China” (translation of the title by the author) the gay community is around 4% -5% of the population in China, which adds up to 60 million people! Gay marriage is not allowed in China but many in the gay community are speaking up for their rights. Some have also managed to hold engagement ceremonies and get blessings from families. Promotion for legalizing gay marriage is also on many organizations’ agenda. The socialist Yinhe Li submitted a proposal for same-sex marriage in the National People’s Congress and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference. However, she did not get 30 signatures of representatives, so the proposal cannot be formally deliberated.
I really believe we will pass laws on gay marriage sooner or later, and hopefully it will be a national law, not just for one province or district. The sooner it comes, the better our communities will be.