January 22, 2010

Where Does China Stand on Gay Rights?

From the UK's Guardian (hat-tip GayAgenda):

It's a peculiarly Chinese way of dealing with things, the last-minute cancellation. Now China's gay community have learned, just like music festival organisers before them, that even licences and assurances can't protect a controversial event from a late knock on the door from the police. But Friday's cancellation of China's first official gay pageant, hours before it was due to begin in Beijing, will sting more than most government interventions. This was supposed to mark a new dawn for China's LGBT population. Instead, after a decade of mixed signals, China's gay community just wants the government to talk straight for once.

It's easy to see why the Chinese gay rights movement has been left wondering just where it stands. Homosexuality was only removed from the state-approved list of mental illnesses in 2001, and since the government has broadly taken a laissez-faire approach to the issue. While Beijing is home to a handful of gay clubs, it would be extremely unusual to see a gay couple openly affectionate in any other public place. It appeared the government was happy for a gay community to exist, as long as it broadly stayed out of the public eye.
Click here to read the rest of the article.

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