News / Asia

Gay Activists Press for Rights in China

Homosexuals Press for Rights in Chinai
X
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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs