China is usually always a difficult place to have oneself heard, especially when it comes to something as controversial as LGBT rights. Such topics surrounding this are normally unspoken of by the government and media and are seen as a taboo by the general public, but in recent years some encouraging progress has been made. Shanghai Pride, the first LGBT pride event of its kind in the People’s Republic of China is now entering its fourth consecutive year and is set to be held in June, the same as its first year. During the past two years it was in October.
Due to law forbidding any public gathering of more than 50 people without state approval in China, there will not be a parade, but instead activities such as picnics, parties in some of Shanghai’s few but vibrant gay bars and clubs, film nights, talks, discussions and many more, will take place from 15-23 June. Profits raised from Shanghai Pride will go towards setting up an LGBT centre in the city.
One must remember that Shanghai Pride is run by expats and it is predominantly other expats who have participated, although every year has seen more local people and companies getting involved in organising it and its events, even at the risk of getting into trouble. Even though being gay is not illegal in China, Shanghai Pride has hit various obstacles with authorities in the past, such as some events being cancelled or postponed or its website being shut down.
While a gay-friendly and open attitude in China is still a long way off compared to other countries, you may find the indifference a lot of people have will not hinder you at all. Gay China may be a small and very much underground world, but it’s gradually growing and certainly has the potential to be big enough to make an even more positive impact there.
Have you ever been to China or would you go to Shanghai Pride in the future? To read more about LGBT issues in China, click here.