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PFLAG China's Video Urging People To Embrace Their Queer Children Goes Viral: WATCH

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Much like Thanksgiving here in the West, the Lunar New Year is a time for many of those celebrating to reconnect and gather with their families. In celebration of the Lunar New Year, PFLAG China has released a short film entitled "Coming Home" celebrating parents that have accepted their queer children for who they are.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that the film has already garnered over 100 million online views.

Though China as a country has steadily made incremental progress in its treatment of its LGBT population, a significant portion of the population and most of the Chinese government holds true to traditions and policies that discourage queer people from coming out.

"Coming Home" tells the story of an openly gay man who returns to be with his family years after they initially rejected him for coming out. In the past few days the film’s popularity spiked hundreds of thousands of people shared it via QQ Live, a Chinese video-based social networking platform.

"Be brave and be yourself,” one of the mothers featured in the film implored to those watching. “Tell your parents your experiences, and we will share with you."

Watch PFLAG China’s "Coming Home" here AFTER THE JUMP...

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Alibaba, China's Answer To eBay and Amazon, Throws Its Weight Behind Marriage Equality

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Alibaba is China’s answer to the West’s eBay and Amazon. The online commerce company made headlines last year after as it entered into the New York Stock Exchange with an IPO valued at $25 billion, the largest in world history. Incidentally, it's also pretty much the only investment that has maintained Yahoo's status as an economically viable business for the last few years. Suffice it to say that Alibaba is an economic force to be reckoned with. The company’s PR move in support of same sex marriage, however, makes it clear that it’s just as intent on winning over the public’s hearts as it is its wallets.

This Valentine’s Day TaoBao, one of Alibaba’s online shopping subsidiaries, is sponsoring massive ad campaign-cum travel context for 10 lucky same-sex couples who will receive trips to foreign countries where gay marriages are legal and recognize by local governments.

The contest, called We Do, is being backed by a number of big-name name Chinese businesses. Blued, China’s most successful geolocation-based social network, is signed on as a partner along with Bliss, a popular textile manufacturing company. As much of a goodwill gesture the campaign is, TechCrunch points out, it’s very much a well thought out attempt at tapping into the economic potential attached to China’s LGBT population.

All the same, We Do is one of the first and largest instances of a Chinese company openly showing support for LGBT rights in such a bold and stated way. TaoBao has invited its users to vote on a collection of gay couples to decide which 10 will travel to countries where they just might be able to tie the knot including the France, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the U.S.

While it’s almost certain that TaoBao and Alibaba’s intentions with We Do are primarily economic in nature, there’s something to be said for the companies’ unabashed support of marriage equality. Regardless of their intentions, the impact of the contest (and the implicit messaging behind it) could be invaluable in shifting the conversation about queer rights in China.

    


Gay Chinese Viral Sensation Suing Former Employer For Homophobic, Wrongful Termination

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Mu Yi inadvertently became something of an internet celebrity last year when he was recorded on camera in the midst of a dispute with another man who is thought to be gay.

In the video Mu and a man in a red hat appeared to be arguing as a Nanshan police officer mediated the dispute. Mu, who headed the sales department of a Chinese design company, is now claiming that being in that video effectively outed him against his will and gave his employer reason to fire him.

"During that time (when the video went viral) I was a total wreck. I couldn't go out. I couldn't answer the phone. I even lost my job," Mu explained. "I was the victim to begin with, it doesn't make any sense for my company [to punish me.]”

Now Mu is suing his former employer with what his attorney describes as the first sexual-orientation discrimination lawsuit to be filed in China. Though homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997 and the Ministry of Health removed it from its list of mental illnesses in 2001, there are few legal protections in place for LGBT individuals.

Re-watch the video that first sparked Mu's controversy AFTER THE JUMP... 

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Chinese Court Rules Against Gay Conversion Therapy Clinic: VIDEO

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Chinese gay rights activists counted another victory this past Friday following the Haidian District Court’s ruling against a local gay conversion therapy center. Yang Teng, a 30-year old man living in Beijing (who was previously quoted under the pseudonym Xiao Zhen), filed a lawsuit against at the Xinyu Piaoxian clinic after being subjected to a routine of hypnosis and electroshock therapy. Teng checked himself into the clinic after being pressured by his family to attempt “curing” himself of his homosexuality, he explained.

As of 2001, the People’s Republic no longer recognizes homosexuality as a mental illness. Presiding judge Wang Chenghong based her decision on China’s official legal position on homosexuality, reasoning that Teng’s gay desires were not something that could be medically treated. The clinic has been ordered to issue an official apology to Teng and to pay damages totaling 3,500 yuan ($563 US.)

“We accomplished our goal, which was to establish that gay conversion is not a legitimate form of therapy,” Yang said soon after a decision was made. I’m going to take this verdict and show it to my parents so they can see a Chinese court said homosexuality isn’t a mental illness.”

Teng’s family insisted upon his checking into Xinyu Piaoxian after seeing advertisements for the clinic on Baidu, one of China’s largest search engines. Baidu was also named in Teng’s lawsuit, though Judge Chenghong’s ruling did not call for the company to pay damages as well. The search engine would be well advised, she explained, in being more careful in its decisions to run ads for questionable services.

Watch an AllOut video on Zhen's story, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Chinese Gay Social App Blued Working With Government to Spread HIV/AIDS Awareness

BluedIn 2011 Ma Baoli left his job as a Chinese police officer after it was discovered that he was the creator and administrator of Danlan.org, a popular Chinese social network for gay men. Soon after resigning Baoli created Blued, a geo-location based mobile app similar to Grindr.

In the three years since Baoli launched Blued, the application’s userbase has expanded to over 15 million people. Unlike many of its predecessors, which the Chinese government has been known to proactively shut down, Blued has found an unlikely ally in governmental officials looking to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS throughout the country.

In the early days of HIV/AIDS the virus was widely thought to be a larger problem for China’s rural population. In recent years, however, the rate of new infections is steadily rising within younger populations in more metropolitan areas.

“The proportion of young H.I.V./AIDS sufferers almost doubled between 2008 and 2012, and gay sex is considered a major reason for the increase,” Shang Hong, a researcher at the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said to Xinhua.

Reaching out China’s gay male population has proven to be difficult for the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Though consensual same-sex interactions were decriminalized in China in 1997, much of the country’s culture is still somewhat resistant to open frank discussions about LGBT public health when it comes to safer sex.

Blued’s parent company Blue City has proven to be an unlikely ally for the Chinese government in its efforts to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and offer HIV blood tests.

“None of our public awareness websites can receive such attention,” said Wu Zunyou, the director of the Chinese CDC, said at AIDS awareness gathering last week. “This is a very important channel to be able to spread information about AIDS prevention among the LGBT community."


China's LGBT Community Fights Stigma, Sham Marriages, Shock Therapy: VIDEO

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It's been 17 years since homosexuality was decriminalized in China. 

But the LGBT community in the world's most populous country is still facing enormous challenges, according to a new CNN "On China" report.

In 2013, a Pew survey found that only 21 percent of Chinese people favor acceptance of homosexuality. 

Practices like shock therapy to "cure" homosexaulity are still common, and there are no laws against anti-LGBT discrimination. 

In fact, the biggest issue facing the LGBT community in China is not same-sex marriage — which remains illegal — but opposite-sex marriage. 

Studies have shown that as many as 10 million Chinese women are married to gay men. That's because Chinese culture places enormous pressure on people to produce offspring — pressure that is only intensified by the country's one-child policy. 

In the LGBT community, sham marriages are the norm — and there are even websites dedicated to matching gay men and women. 

"If you're not [married], you're a monster," LGBT activist Xu Bin told CNN. "If you're above 25 years of age, and you're not married, you're an outcast — there must be something wrong." 

China's Communist government is officially neutral on homosexuality, activists say. However, national security forces watch LGBT advocacy groups closedly and have warned them about being too vocal. 

If nothing else, the CNN report is a reminder that we've still got a lot of work to do overseas, not just in countries where gays are actively persecuted, but anywhere our LGBT brothers and sisters aren't free and equal. 

Watch two videos previewing the report, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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