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Being gay in China has become harder in last decade: Report

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Beijing | July 5, 2022 10:55:26 PM IST
Being gay in China has become harder in the last decade as life has gotten harder since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.

Di Valerio Fabbri, writing in Geopolitica.info said that China's muscular posture became prominent after Xi set a tone for a more assertive, self-reliant China strengthened by a growing population and traditional values. One outcome has been a subtle but constant narrowing of gay spaces -- physical, virtual and philosophical.

Xi Jinping has been tightening breathing space for civil society since he came to power and including groups serving the LGBTQ community. Legislations have been passed to ensure that unauthorised groups have difficulty surviving, for example by cutting them off from banking services or public meeting spaces or by banning media coverage.

Moreover, some in China believe that being homosexual, bisexual, or trans is a foreign concept, based on the fact that numerous Western embassies in Beijing have highlighted LGBT rights.

A more assertive, self-reliant China has resulted in a subtle but constant narrowing of gay spaces, with internet platforms willing to step in and do the government's dirty work, said Fabbri.

"Will You Look at Me", an award-winning documentary short film features Huang Shuli and his mother in an anguished conversation regarding Shuli's homosexuality.

Huang's mother's exasperation is evident from her words, "Why did I give birth to a monster?" and is juxtaposed with shots of her indulging in daily chores like picking flowers, swimming in the wild or tending her garden.

Homosexuality has always been a taboo topic in China, where the rights of sexual minorities are non-existent. Social media accounts of several LGBT societies at universities were closed down last year on the basis of unspecified violations.

An increasingly hostile environment is being created for groups pushing for more inclusion. China's only big LGBT celebration, Shanghai Pride, stands cancelled after police interrogated several of its organizers, reported Geopolitica.info.

Further, LGBT groups have been accused of corrupting young people and serving hostile foreign forces, a rhetoric that has been amplified by State media. Portrayals of "effeminate" and "sissy" men were banned last year by the top media regulator.

Even generic shows featuring subtly romantic male friendships have been banned. In order to prevent the 'feminization' of boys, Bejing's Education ministry has called for strengthening physical education to "cultivate masculinity".

In 2014, Peng Yanzi, an activist who is working to advance LGBT equality through China's legal system, underwent electric shocks and hypnotism intended to "cure" his homosexuality by an unspecified clinic in China.

Moreover, same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children or marry. Chinese censors in 2016 declared that television and films should avoid homosexual themes. In Xi'an, nine activists attempting to organize an LGBT rights convention were detained.

The police told the organizers the city didn't welcome gay people. The absurd censorship hit the American television show "Friends", where the plot line about Ross' lesbian ex-wife was completely removed when it started streaming in China, reported Geopolitica.info.

In an effort to offset the consequences of the former one-child policy, which has resulted in a rapidly greying society, the Communist Party has also pushed for couples to have additional children. Although it's never stated explicitly, promoting LGBT rights and normalising non-traditional family arrangements could be perceived as undermining that purpose. (ANI)

 
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