LGBT event canceled in Xi’an as authorities ‘don’t welcome gays,’ claim organizers

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/30 22:58:39

The organizers of an LGBT conference in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, have claimed that they were forced to cancel the event because the city "does not welcome gay people."

The activity organized by Speak Out, a Chinese LGBT organization, was supposed to start on Sunday. However, it was "canceled" after a warning was received from the local government, said "Matthew," the Chinese founder of the organization, who would not give his real name.

The conference aims to eliminate discriminations against LGBT groups and let the group's voice be heard by more people, according to the organization's website. The group has been organizing these events regularly in different cities since 2014, including in Xi'an in 2015.

As they were planning the event, their bookings of venues were canceled a number of times for various reasons, and the organization finally decided to "cancel the activity" on Saturday night, Matthew said.

Moreover, Matthew said that some members of the organization were held incommunicado for eight hours from 7 am on Sunday, because the local government and police took them for questioning.

An employee from Xi'an public security bureau told the Global Times on Tuesday that they are not aware of the situation, and no one was available at the local government office for comment as it was a public holiday.

Matthew claimed that he and his colleagues were warned that "gay activities cannot be held in Xi'an anymore," and "Xi'an does not welcome gays." 

A survey entitled Being LGBTI in China - A National Survey on Social Attitudes towards Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression, implemented by the United Nations Development Program, Peking University's Sociology Department and the Beijing LGBT Center in 2016, showed that many LGBT people in China live in the shadows, with only 5 percent willing to come out.

It found that the majority of LGBT people continue to face discrimination, most importantly within the family, where the deepest forms of rejection and abuse reside, followed by schools and the workplace.



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