News / Asia

Gay Activists Press for Rights in China

Homosexuals Press for Rights in Chinai
May 13, 2013 3:11 PM
While the United States Supreme Court considers whether gay men and women have the right to marry, debate on the issue also is growing in China. From Beijing, Shannon Van Sant reports for VOA on gay rights activists in that nation, who increasingly are vocal about the right to marry and live free from discrimination.
Shannon Van Sant
While the United States Supreme Court considers whether gay men and women have the right to marry, debate on the issue also is growing in China. Gay rights activists in that nation increasingly are vocal about the right to marry and live free from discrimination.  
Xiao Tie works at Beijing’s LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] center, working to end discrimination against homosexuals in China. Last February the battle became personal, when Xiao tried to marry her partner, Elsie Liao. She went to the local Civil Affairs Bureau to apply for a marriage certificate.
“When we went to register, the local officer was a man, he was very impolite and very bad to us. He kept saying ‘it’s not possible, the marriage law says no’ and told us to go elsewhere. But when we decided to do that we knew it would never happen, our main aim was to express our need," she said.
Xiao is part of a growing gay rights movement in China. The Chinese government decriminalized homosexuality in 1997 and removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 2001. Ah Qiang, who leads a Guangzhou-based NGO representing parents of gays and lesbians, visited Beijing with two of the parents from his organization.
One mother, who declined to give her name, said she had difficulty accepting her son’s homosexuality.
“When my son was at middle school I already felt he wasn’t like the others. But as a mother I didn’t dare to think my son was homosexual. I didn’t have the guts to go ask him, because I was afraid he would think I knew and he didn’t need to change. I thought he was still young and immaculate, he could still be changed,” she said.
In time, both she and another mother not only embraced their children’s sexuality, but became gay rights activists themselves.
They signed an open letter from 100 parents of gays and lesbians to China’s National People’s Congress, urging the Chinese government to adopt same-sex marriage benefits. Authorities never responded.
“Our homosexual children are in no way different to straight people. We also want them to have a stable family life. We ask the government to design such a law to give them this right,” she said.
Many families expect their children to marry and continue the filial line.  China’s one child policy only increases that social pressure. But Xiao and other activists say they want to be treated the same as heterosexuals - in the workplace, at home with their families, and have the right to marry the person they love.

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Press Freedom

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: ferdie from: saudi arabia
May 14, 2013 12:44 AM
im agree with that human have right to choose his patner for a long life.... gay and men have right to have a marriage between them.... law have no business if what the human need in happy life

by: WillSmith007 from: Japan
May 13, 2013 11:22 PM
As far as I know, not only in China or America but also in many different countries and regions, LGBT communities are trying to make the gay marriage law be legal. I know that there are challenges and difficulties, but people don't abandon, and keep going for what they deserve to have. We're born in the world, in the place we call "the Earth", "we" here should be treated equally without any discrimination. I dream of a day everybody will live happily, live the life they love.

by: Aie from: China
May 13, 2013 12:38 PM
Suprised that VOA will care it. American themselves debate fiercely about it. Nevertheless, I wish the law could pass as quick as possible( maybe I cannot witness it within my life's reach ) . But if my boyfriend's mom demands a grandchild, what could I say? Maybe, if only he is as persistent as me. But in China, being childless means simply trouble.

I suggest the title modified: Gay people demand rights in no-gay-marriage nation all over the world.

Actually Chinese gay people enjoy a relatively free phenomenon thanks to the Internet spread. "Gay friends" in Chinese language nearly refer to all best male friends. However, the discrimination still exists deeply on the roots of older generation and some of the younger. But generally the situation is improving. Only marriage is still a big problem.

I think the best solution is to allow gay people get married without interferring with the definition of marriage. You can surely say marriage is between a man and a woman, only if you grant us the same rights as a man-woman couple.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs