In 2001 Homosexuality was taken of China’s list of mental illness’ and in 1997 it was decriminalized. It wasn’t always viewed as a criminal offense as the tolerance for sexual diversity was practiced and written about in Chinese literature. According to studies of Pan Guangdan ( (潘光旦) he discovered that many or most of the Han Dynasty emperors had one or more male companions along with wives and concubines. Meaning that homosexuality then was more bisexuality and a day to day way of living for rich Chinese.
It was so much a way of living that in the Fujian province an older man could ‘adopt’/marry a younger man, along with the entire official wedding ceremony of that time and the younger brother/lover would take up the role of a ‘traditional’ wife. He would be announced as the mans wife, take care of adopted children and depend on his husband. Usually he would also be treated well as a son in law by the olders parents. These relationships would usually last for about 20 years or until the older had to marry a woman and procreate. Procreation being the biggest, most important role of the son.
End of this lifestyle
The end of this way of living was of course.. when the western religions and way of thinking was brought into the Chinese lifestyle. Making homosexuality as sin and a crime. During the start of the People’s Republic of China, led by Mao Zhedong, many people believed to be LGBT were imprisoned, castrated and in many cases murdered for their sexual deviant behavior. Even though a Chinese doctor believes that Mao engaged in sexual activity with younger males in the military.
In modern society being gay is still very much stigmatized. The believe of HIV/AIDS only happening among gay men and the sexual taboo in China keeping this idea very much alive. Even though every year more and more people are becoming open to it, these are usually the younger more western raised generation. Their parents or families will still not accept LGBT in the family. You were born to procreate and make money so if you don’t do either of these you are a sin.
Aswell as it being a government problem, LGBT people do not get the same treatment as a heterosexual person. They are not eligible for legal protection or health care, making it impossible for couples to adopt, marry, have children yourself or be in the military.
Movies, TV shows and everything else in the media also has a censorship that even expands to the online hosting of media not complying with their laws.
In 2009 the first PRIDE was held in Shanghai but unlike most PRIDE this wasn’t a parade because the government would protest a parade through the city. So instead they held a 7 day festival with film screenings, exhibitions and a party to follow. 3000 people from China and other countries came to this festival, they also had a raffle to raise money for the Chiheng Foundation AIDS Orphans project. This grew out to a 3 week festival in Shanghai EXPO and then back to 9 days.