Lesbian couple in Guangzhou wear wedding dresses in public to declare their love

Posted: 04/19/2013 7:00 am

A lesbian couple walked down Guangzhou’s Beijing Road on Wednesday wearing wedding dresses and bearing a sign asking onlookers to wish them happiness, Yangcheng Evening News reports. The couple, Xiao Yang and Xiaoxiao were defiant in the face of criticism from some members of the public.

The couple ask members of the public to wish them happiness

The couple emerged at around 11 a.m. when Beijing Road is at its busiest. They started caressing each other’s hair and smooching. Having drawn much attention, Xiao Yang stated loudly: “As of today, this woman is my wife and I am her wife. We are in love, so wish us luck as you would any couple.”

The couple were criticized to their faces by some straight couples and older people but they were defiant, saying: “Wouldn’t you let a woman love another woman?”

Other members of the public applauded and cheered.

When interviewed by the paper, Xiao Yang cited as her hero Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Iceland’s lesbian prime minister who was recently in Beijing. Xiao Yang said the couple’s goal was to inspire other gay people and win respect from the general public.

Gay marriage is not legally recognized in China but this does not stop some couples from holding wedding ceremonies.


For the love of his gay son: A Chinese father’s coming out story

Posted: 04/12/2013 3:52 pm

A child’s coming out story is often hard. But behind the brave steps taken by a gay son or daughter, it’s often forgotten how difficult it is for his or her parents to come out about their child’s sexuality to their friends. In a sense, when one person comes out, the whole family comes out – something rarely discussed in Mainland China.

For Mr. Li, known as “RoseDad” on Sina Weibo, his son’s coming out was something he wanted to handle well. He said he saw his son no differently than he always had when he came out to him last October.

“Nothing has changed,” says Mr. Li. “We love him even more.”

Last month, Li flew to Guangzhou to share his son’s coming out story at PFLAG China – the headquarters for parents and friends who support their gay and lesbian children. The event drew about 100 people. Among them were 15 mothers, far more than the only two dads who attended in support of their sons’ sexuality.

Asked about saving face in the culture, Li says accepting ‘it’ is difficult. “Why did this happen to me?” he thought upon first hearing the news. He even contacted a psychologist-friend of his, thinking that his son’s sickness could be cured.

A Generational Divide

Men are still considered to be the dominant figure in most Chinese households.

The youngest of three siblings, Li grew up during a time when students were sent to the countryside to work as peasants. He did four years of farming in the countryside before attending university, graduating in 1983 and becoming an English teacher.

It was at the riverside in Fuzhou, Fujian where Leon, Li’s son, came out. At the time, Li admitted he thought his son had a mental disease. That night, Leon showed his dad a video presented by Li Yinhe, a sociologist, sexologist, and supporter of the LGBT community.

Li soon made an appointment with a PFLAG member to learn more about what being gay is all about. “I made a decision that I had to learn this new topic,” says Li. “I read articles and watched a video.”

Leon came to the realization that he was gay more than 20 years ago. Li realizes the pain that his son had to endure throughout his life, and especially during the coming out process. While working in Shenzhen, Leon popped across the border to Hong Kong and received an LGBT pamphlet.  Leon’s mother soon found the pamphlet, which lead to Leon deciding to come out about his sexuality.

“Why do I want to escape from my family?” Leon says. He is now living with his family in Fuzhou.

Li told his mother-in-law about Leon being gay. Leon’s grandmother, 90, doesn’t understand what being gay is all about. Still, “she didn’t hesitate to accept him. It’s a simple feeling,” said Li.

Li has already discussed relationships with Leon and has made an agreement with him: he will support his son with his boyfriend, but the relationship has to be a long-term and stable one. This is one of Li’s basic principles, and is not much different than parents would expect of a heterosexual couple, too. Parents want the best for their kids, no matter what.

“One should fight for his lifestyle; he shouldn’t care about what others think. Others should admire you, so you shouldn’t be afraid,” he said.


Lesbian couple in Guangzhou turned away at marriage registry, holds ceremony anyway

Posted: 02/28/2013 9:20 am

You know same-sex marriage is becoming more mainstream when even Republicans are supporting it, but it still might be a while before it’s legally recognized in China.

A lesbian couple in Guangzhou decided to test the system themselves on Tuesday (February 26) when Jiu Jiu and A Ya appeared at the Civil Affairs Bureau in Haizhu District.

The receptionist gave them a marriage registration form and asked them to fill it out. One side was for the groom, the other for the bride. Once the clerk realized there were two women in front of her, she pulled the form away and said, “Only one man and one woman can get married, based on the marriage law.” Jiu Jiu and A Ya left in disappointment, but decided to hold a ceremony anyway, only a few weeks after another same-sex wedding ceremony in Shenzhen.

There is an extremely small – but growing – number of people in China who are pushing for marriage equality. A Qiang, the executive of a homosexual friends and relatives group, wrote a 600-word letter on behalf of the group to deputies of China’s National People’s Congress on February 25 calling for equal rights. The purpose was to raise awareness of the issue and show why allowing same-sex marriage is good for society.

A Qiang argued some same-sex couples in China have been together for 10 years or more, look after each other and love each other, but lack marriage benefits.  He said issues like healthcare, property inheritance, housing, and more is all affected by denying same-sex marriage. He said the answer is full legalization.

This is the second case of a same-sex marriage being thwarted just this week.  Another group tried to do the same in Beijing on Monday, but were turned away.