We’re here, we’re queer

By Wang Weipeng Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/23 17:23:39

On April 13, Weibo posted a statement saying that a clear-up campaign would be carried out against animation and short clips that include pornography or violence and homosexuality-related content. This soon stirred a massive outcry among netizens who took to one of China's most popular social networks to protest the action. The hashtag #IAmHomosexual# was viewed more than 500 million times in 72 hours on Weibo, and the public backlash spread to many other platforms. Because of the outcry, three days after the original announcement, Weibo finally backtracked and announced that homosexual content would not be censored.

While celebrating the victory, I was also fascinated by the collective power of both China's LGBTQ community and those quality-minded net users. Many heterosexual friends also joined in on the protest. Despite China becoming increasingly tolerant of homosexuality, in many cases, those voices from sexual minorities are muted by ubiquitous heteronormative systems rooted in our society. Has homosexual love ever appeared in any of your literature discussions in schools? Have you ever heard any love expert sharing tips on same-sex relationships? Weibo, regarded as a safe space for sexual minorities, can generate a sense of belonging and safety for marginalized people. Defending LGBTQ people's right to speak up in the online community is essential for guarding their visibility in the society. If all traces of China's LGBTQ community are wiped out, all the achievement made by those who have fought for so long is to no avail. The reality that LGBTQ people are being sidelined and their rights curtailed legitimized their campaign. When marginalized groups still cannot enjoy the same benefits as others, it would be generous to show at least a bit tolerance, even if you decline to be an ally. 

As a teacher, I am shocked when I see reluctance or disgust whenever the topic of sex is brought up. My students' homophobic remarks worry me. Educators, parents and the media should bear the responsibility to provide them with the necessary knowledge. Yesterday, when I saw the revised textbooks for sex education in an opinion article published in the People's Daily, I felt that a good future for China's sexual equality is in store.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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