I am always extremely proud and respectful for people who organize Gay Prides in countries like Russia or like this weekend in China where the city of Shanghai organized its first ever pride! It takes a lot of courage for those men and women to face the ‘official interferences’. A fair mix of local and foreign participants took part in the festival.
Saturday in Shanghai hundreds of people packed the Cotton’s Xinhua Road club from 2 to 10 pm with a series of live events culminating in four same-sex weddings when gay marriage is still illegal in the country.
For many LGBTs, it was the first time they felt like coming out of the closet in the country’s largest metropolis. It was their first grand party on the Chinese mainland. Although China decriminalized gay sex in 1997 and no longer considers homosexuality as a mental disorder since 2001, discrimination against LGBTs is still prevalent.
Some government officials still do not recognize and accept LGBTs as normal human beings, and deny them due dignity and equal rights.During the week of Shanghai Pride, local government officials intervened to cancel several film screenings and the staging of a play.
Shanghai Pride 2009 was intended to help more LGBTs to come out of the closet. Yet government meddling clearly sent a wrong signal. It is a message denying the basic civil rights of LGBTs, who are no longer illegal in this country. It’s quite disturbing to see the local authorities still adopt such a hostile attitude towards LGBTs and persist in trying to confine them to the closet in such a big city.