Touching on LGBT issues is like breaking through a wall inside of us. This community is a wedge, pushing the envelope for openness and inclusiveness. China has been gradually making progress on LGBT rights, but the barriers are still high. The aim of this video is not to draw attention to those who appear in it, but to raise voices to break down those walls. It's not so much about promoting rights for this particular group, but rather, the big issue of social inclusiveness for marginalized groups in China.
Changing the Hearts and Minds of Society
“Because when we don't speak out with our support, they will never be recognized,” says Ruan Ruan, a member of the Beijing Queer Chorus.
When Ruan Ruan joined the chorus, she had no idea that it was a gay-friendly group. At first, being straight made her something of a marginalized member. She said she could feel what it's like to be gay in society. She started to rediscover what harmony means in society. "Each voice can play a role.”
Emerging from the Darkness
“If you think that you deserve respect, you need to learn that you need to respect yourself first,” says Ah-Ping Mu, ballet master of Ping's Dance Group.
Ah-Ping Mu opened a gay-friendly dance class some two years ago in Beijing. The original purpose was to help more people explore who they are and to live a really positive life. He is happy to see the changes in students, who grow in confidence and embrace their true selves.
Homosexual activity used to be illegal in China. Ah-Ping Mu says society is getting increasingly tolerant and discussions on LGBT issues have become more open. But he also says there's still a lot to be done to reduce social prejudice and the gay community should also establish a more positive culture.
To Live and Love Without Fear
"I think the world is colorful and we are no different from the others,” says Duan Rongfeng, a PFLAG volunteer.
For some, coming out to their families is their greatest fear. Duan Rongfeng and Li Tao have been together for 15 years. After a sham marriage, Li Tao felt that was not the kind of life he wanted. He and Duan Rongfeng got married in California in 2015, but their union is not recognized in China. Both of them are volunteers for the PFLAG LGBT group in Shanghai.
They believe reversing some of China's deep-rooted attitudes has to start with each family. And only when gay people can let others know what they really need, can society understand that there's a certain group of people wanting certain rights.
What all of our interviewees want is for everyone to feel at home in society.
(Special thanks to all who agreed to face our camera. CGTN has their permission to use their images in this video.)