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04/19/2007


Smartphone App Blued Knocks Out Grindr And Jack'd In China

BluedA new "gay match-making" app has taken off in China, amassing a little over 2 million users in the least year according to Al Jazeera. Blued has already become more popular than Grindr, an app that is perhaps most prevalent in the United States. "I use Grindr, but people in China use it so little," said Clint Wang. Jack'd, a gay dating/hook-up app created in Belgium and popular in larger Chinese cities like Shanghai, is oft referred to by its "Chinese name jie ke di, which literally translates to a place where a sex worker finds his or her John." Still, Blued has outpaced Jack'd and Grindr, gaining preeminence in "China's second- and third-tier cities."

However, the release of the figures estimating Blued's popularity comes on the heels of China's government controlled news agency expressing concern that apps such as Blued will increase China's rate of HIV infection. However, the CEO of Blued, Geng Le, does not agree with the government's characterization of the risk:

[Le told Al Jazeera that he] feels his company is part of the solution, not the problem, to China's HIV/AIDS epidemic. "We have helped the government spread education to combat the HIV/AIDS information."

"If HIV/AIDS is an issue, it's because of bad sexual practices," like unprotected sex, and misinformation, Geng said, not apps themselves.

Tom Myers, spokesman and general counsel at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Washington, D.C., echoed Geng's opinion.

"It sounds funky to me,” he said. “I'd have to see what evidence the (Xinhua) report is relying on."

"What drives the epidemic in the U.S. and in most of the world is people who have HIV and don't know they have HIV," said Myers, adding that finding treatment allows people with HIV to become up to 96 percent non-infectious. "That's a better success rate than condoms."

Geng estimates that there are 13 million gay men in China and Blued hopes to reach 10 million smartphones across the country.


NY Times Op-Ed Highlights The IOC's Leadership Deficit

RingsIn an Op-Ed piece published earlier this week, The New York Times highlights an important upcoming election that few know about but nonetheless has the potential to impact many: the election of a new president of the International Olympic Committee. The September vote will be the first in 12 years and may in fact be, "the last chance for many years to reform the committee’s approach to repressive governments that seek to host the [Olympic] games." The author of the article, Human Rights Watch's Minky Worden, argues that "It is imperative that the committee elect a president willing to lead, not cave in, on this issue." Current IOC President Jacques Rogge has not left behind a sterling legacy when it comes to the IOC's commitment to human rights let alone its own charter:

The 12-year term of the current president, Jacques Rogge of Belgium, will be remembered in large part for the glaring contradiction between the I.O.C.’s explicit vision of its lofty role in the world (as outlined in the rules and guidelines of its charter) and the fact that Mr. Rogge has been responsible for two Olympics with extensive human rights violations: the 2008 summer games in Beijing and the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia, which start in less than six months.

To host the Olympics, governments and cities pledge not only to build sparkling new stadiums but also to uphold the I.O.C.’s “Fundamental Principles of Olympism”: respect for human dignity and press freedom, and a rejection of “any form of discrimination.” But the I.O.C. under Mr. Rogge has failed to enforce its own rules.

The 2008 Beijing games, which cost an estimated $40 billion, led to a host of rights violations, including abuses of domestic migrant workers who were building Olympic infrastructure and a harsh clampdown on civil society and media, with punishment (including imprisonment) for those trying to protest.

Now the I.O.C. is preparing to stage another Olympics in a host country that almost appears to be taunting organizers and sponsors by flagrantly flouting its pledge.

Worden also points out that given the IOC's lackluster group of 98 voting members, comprised of "mostly sports federation leaders and members of royal families," only one of whom has criticized Russia's discriminatory laws, it will be up to corporations who have the power of the all mighty dollar behind them to push for change:

Before another I.O.C. president is selected, the corporate sponsors who make the Olympics possible should insist that the president enforce the committee’s own rules about human rights. Unless sponsors and franchise-holders like NBC, Coca-Cola, G.E., McDonalds and Visa want to risk being associated with an officially homophobic Olympics, they must find their voices — before the next I.O.C. head is anointed.


90 Year Old Publicly Announces Her Support Of Her Gay Grandson - VIDEO

Chinese Grandma

While LGBT people are enjoying greater acceptance in China, many still face difficulty when coming out to their conservative and/or traditionally-minded parents. As a result, many were shocked to see a 90-year-old woman playing such a vital role in the creation of a video by PFLAG China

Upon viewing the actual video, though, the woman's comments don't prove to be all that revolutionary. Like many other grandmas the world over, all she wants is to see her grandchild meet someone nice and settle down:

"I am 90-years old. My grandson is gay. He is kind and mature. I hope he will find a boyfriend and live a happy life. And I hope our government supports him.”

PFLAG ChinaAccording to Queerty, the video's star is the grandmother of "an engineer in Fuzhou who goes by the alias Mutou". He said that, despite her message of love and acceptance, she "will have to deal with lots of pressure from strangers and relatives." Then again, senior citizens in general aren't exactly known for paying much mind to "pressure from strangers and relatives". 

"Mutou came out to his parents last year, but it was his nonagenarian nana that was the most supportive and understanding. 'She even tried to calm my parents — who were less accepting in the beginning — and asked them to take it easy,' Mutou told the South China Morning Post. 'She did it out of simple love.'"

Watch the full video AFTER THE JUMP and try not to smile...

Continue reading "90 Year Old Publicly Announces Her Support Of Her Gay Grandson - VIDEO" »


NEWS: More Weiner Trouble, ARTPOP Art Work, Chinese Debt, New iPhones

Road More bad news for Anthony Weiner's mayoral campaign, as his campaign manager, Danny Kedem, announced his resignation on Sunday. So far, Kedem hasn't issued a statement explaining why he chose to leave. 

Road The iPhone 5S may be headed to stores as early as September 6th, according to a new report circulated by Cult of Mac. Should the rumor prove true, it would certainly follow in the same pattern as previous releases that have taken place around the same time of year. The report also teased the possibility of bigger screens, as well as more cost-effective casings. 

Road Lady Gaga has released the artwork to her new single from ARTPOP, which will be released during this year's VMAs in August. Gaga released  
ARYPOP single artthe bare, technological photo via her official Twitter account. 

Road Recent documents surrounding a pending lawsuit against Utah's West Ridge Academy confirm suspicions that it is, in fact, being run by the Mormon church.

Road More couples are obtaining marriage licenses in Montgomery County, as county officials continue to defy the state's ban on same-sex marriage. 

Road Shortly before her most recent attempt at rehab, and shortly after she announced her Oprah-produced, post-rehab docu-series, Lindsay Lohan has announced that some of her toxic "so-called friends" will be "cut from her life". 

Road China has ordered an audit of all government debt. The order comes amidst fears of a possible economic slump as growth has slowed down in recent months. Chinese banks rapidly expanded their credit in the market while the rest of the world underwent a financial crisis. Now, government officials are worried that local governments might have borrowed too much, making the debts impossible to pay off with the recent slow-down. 

Road Britney Spears and her two sons attended a premiere for Smurfs 2 over the weekend. In one photo, Britney and co. look less than thrilled to be there. 

Road The Russian LGBT film festival Side-by-Side lost an appeal last week, after being found guilty by a Russian court of violating a "foreign agent" law. 

Road Hugh Jackman's The Wolverine won the top spot in the U.S. box office over the weekend, although numbers still aren't what producers had hoped for in The States. Luckily, the film was able to draw substantial crowds overseas. 

Road Downton Abbey has released some promo materials for its upcoming fourth season. 

Road Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z gave a "Legends of Summer" concert in Pasadena. Based on photos, at least two celebrity Chinese-currency-renminbi-RMB-manufacturing
couples were in attendance, Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied as well as Robert Pattinson and Sia.

Road Taylor Swift went paddleboarding over the weekend with Ed Sheeran in Rhode Island. She wore a retro bikini that's receiving mixed reviews...

Road Members of the radical feminist movement are undergoing controversy as trans advocate Dallas Denny published an incredibly transhobia letter sent by an anonymous group. 

Road Australian pop artist Nathan Leigh Jones has released his new song "Crying For Love", which calls for marriage equality in the Land Down Under. 

Road Keanu Reeves' samurai epic 47 Ronin has finally released a trailer, which is receiving some pretty bad reviews


Chinese Vice-Premier's Gay Marriage Joke Gets Crickets at Meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary

Lew-Yang

Telling a joke can be a perilous venture even among close friends in a casual environment, so perhaps one of the toughest settings to attempt topical humor would be in an international political setting. Chinese vice-premier, Wang Yang, tried his hand anyways with a gay marriage joke during a high-level meeting in Washington with US Treasury secretary, Jack Lew. It went about as well as one would expect.

According to The Guardian, Wang said about the China-US relationship:

"In China when we say a pair of new people, we mean a newlywed couple. Although US law does permit marriage between two men, I don't think this is what Jacob or I actually want."

Uncomfortable silence and polite smiles ensued. A follow-up joke about divorce and Rupert Murdoch was more warmly received. 

Fortunately, the joke did not seem to have any malicious or homophobic intent, but instead was an attempt at topical humor, conflating the recent Supreme Court decisions regarding DOMA and Prop 8 with a Chinese turn of phrase. However, humor is a difficult art form to master that relies on clever exploitation of nuance, shared knowledge and norms, and expectations. Before his next show Wang should probably take lessons from the writers at Cracked.


Chinese Gay Activist Detained for 12 Days Over Pride March: Video

Xiang

A few weeks ago we reported on the LGBT rights march in the city of Changsha in central China for the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia (IDAHO).

Today, Queer Comrades posted a video of the march to their YouTube account. The march, organized by Xiang Xiaohan, had over 100 participants from several cities and seemed to be well-received by those who witnessed it, though Xiaohan was was punished with 12 days of administrative detention by the local Changsha police for having organized the parade without obtaining Public Security permission.

Said Xiaohan after his release, "Next time they might detain me for 15 days. If that's what it takes to hold another event, then that's fine by me."

Watch the video of the march, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Chinese Gay Activist Detained for 12 Days Over Pride March: Video" »


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