In Fu’an, Fujian province on Tuesday, a pair of men publicly declared their love by holding an outdoor wedding that drew “countless eyeballs,” according to the video description.
Of course, China doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions, so the display was merely symbolic. But it was a sweet display nonetheless.
In January 2010, AFP wrote, “State press splashed a front-page photo of China’s first publicly ‘married’ gay couple on Wednesday — the latest sign of new openness about homosexuality in a country where it has long been taboo.” In a country where homosexuality was “illegal” until 1997, that indeed was a big leap. And this? A small step, but one in the right direction.
While I don’t think it’s strictly necessary (or fair) to compare gay rights in China vs. the US, this factoid from a 2009 Guardian article by Tania Branigan has always struck me as significant, but in all the wrong ways for those in America:
Gay men and lesbians say there is less overt hostility than in the west and certainly less physical harassment. Li’s research [Li Yinghe, an academic at the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences] in cities suggests about 91% of people are happy to work with gay colleagues – a higher rate than in US surveys – and that 30% back gay marriage.
She argues that Chinese culture has historically been more tolerant than others: “We don’t have religions which are absolutely against homosexuality, for example. But the pressure to marry is huge – far greater than in the west.”
Wouldn’t that be something? If China, of all countries, outpaced the US in acceptance of gay couples.