Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First public gay wedding in China

I am terrified of China. I love their food, and a few of their people, and I hope to see China for myself someday, but the government scares me. A LOT. With the scary overlords in mind, I think that this takes balls. Four of them, to be precise:

According to China’s state-run newspaper, China Daily, on January 3, 2010, Zeng Anquan and Pan Wenjie had a wedding at a gay bar in Chengdu of southwest China’s Sichuan Province. The couple regrets that they cannot receive a marriage certificate from the Chinese government, but the fact that the state-run newspaper has given their wedding publicity shows a movement toward that goal.

Neither of the men who were wed had family in attendance, but they were surrounded by gay friends. Pan’s former girlfriend volunteered to be Pan’s bridesmaid at the wedding. “We are no longer hiding any more. The wedding is our happiest and most precious moment,” Zeng told the China Daily.

The government has made no official response to the wedding.

Huang Zhiling and Zhang Ao report, “The country has roughly 30 million homosexuals – 20 million gay men and the remaining, lesbians, according to estimates by Zhang Beichuan, a professor at Qingdao University and an expert on homosexuality and HIV/AIDS prevention.”

When I was studying the rhetoric of gender years ago, a professor told me that there was not even a word for “gay” in the Mandarin (Chinese) language. This is a big leap, and I am encouraged that China allows gay bars to be open, and that the Chinese state-run newspaper is making an announcement of lifelong love between two men so public.

Good luck to them [run for your bloody lives!]

Kay Banks

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