Beijing LGBT Center turns to short videos to clear up misunderstandings about LGBTQ+ community

By Ji Yuqiao Source: Published: 2020/7/12 19:34:20

Photo: VCG

The Beijing LGBT Center opened an account on short video platform Douyin on Sunday to tell true stories and correct stereotypes about the LGBTQ+ community.

The center has uploaded several short videos on the platform covering stereotypes such as whether all gay men are good looking or whether bisexual people are fickle when it comes to love.

"Through the platform, we hope to tell the life stories of the LGBTQ+ community, decrease or even eliminate discrimination and provide an interactive platform for the community to get information as well as support," Xin Ying, director of the center, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Xin said that since the account was only recently established, they are mainly starting off by uploading simple videos in a question and answer style format, but as they accumulate experience, they plan to tackle more controversial topics in their videos.

"We may also have more interesting content including mini-plays in the future, which will possibly attract more Douyin users," she added.

In one short video, Xin explains how the stereotype that all gay men are good looking is discriminatory.  

"Some heterosexual people looked forward to seeing many handsome or pretty faces when visiting our center, but they are often disappointed and ask why the gay men at our center are so ordinary looking," Xin said. "Actually, this imaginary image of gays is the result of people being misled by the popular culture of the boys' love (BL) genre. Humans are different and so too are gays. The most important thing is that we should love ourselves and should believe that we deserve to be loved."

Popular BL genre works, including fictional stories and TV dramas, mostly portray romantic relations between two handsome men to draw in more readers or viewers, but Xin pointed out that this leads to misunderstandings about gay men.

According to research, about 52.7 percent of the fans of these popular cultural works such as the hit Chinese web drama The Untamed and Thailand's BL dramas are women and their main focus is the good looks of the actors instead of the same-sex romance.

"We should separate the real LGBTQ+ community from these artworks. Some BL works portray same-sex love between two men in an entertaining way rather than really understand this sexual minority," the center noted in an article posted to its WeChat account.

Xin also introduced asexual people in another video. In one question a person said they had doubts about whether her boyfriend loved her because he wasn't interested in having sex with her. Xin noted that asexuality does exist and accounts for one percent of the population.

"For the asexual group, some of them cannot accept having close and romantic relations with others while some of them can maintain a romantic relationship, but are not interested in sex. This is normal for them, but doesn't mean that they are not in love."

"Many in a close relationship prefer a hug," she said.

The center has a team dedicated to running the short video account. Xin said that they shoot videos on Fridays and then volunteers edit them over the following weekend. 

"The number of fans of the account just reached a few thousand and each short video only has hundreds of views. Our target is to have millions of fans so we can introduce the community to more people."

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