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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid