Gays make gains in China: survey

By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2014-12-8 0:33:02

But fewer than half support same-sex marriage

Chinese women need to be aware that there are gay men looking to marry due to social or personal reasons. Photo: Li Hao/GT

There's a growing acceptance of gay people in China, the latest survey on lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT) shows.

Fifty-nine percent of 2,400 city residents said that society should accept homosexuals while 21 percent of respondents know gay people, according to the first annual survey on the social acceptance toward LGBT people by the Shanghai LGBT Professionals and Work For LGBT and Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

City residents 18 years old and above were surveyed in November online and through mobile devices.

The survey showed that Chinese people are more positive toward LGBT people, according to the Work For LGBT and the LGBT organizations hope to further gain acceptance for the LGBT community.

Only 21 percent of surveyed said they knew LGBT people in their lives and 4 percent have no opinion.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they are tolerant to homosexuality because they know some LGBT people, the survey found.

Ah Qiang, a well-known gay rights activist and founder of PFLAG China, told the Global Times that the report revealed that gay people can win more acceptance and understanding by coming out.

"I appeal to the large number of gay people who are still hiding to come out for the public to better understand the group," Ah Qiang said.

On same-sex marriage, 40 percent of respondents supported the idea and 19 percent opposed.  Forty percent of those surveyed remained neutral.

On equal employment opportunities, 80 percent of those surveyed were in favor, and only 5 percent opposed it.

Respondents from villages, if included in the survey, might pull down the acceptance level of LGBT people, as many villagers remain unfamiliar with LGBT people and issues, Ah Qiang said. Zhang Beichuan, a prominent scholar on homosexuality, told the Global Times that the survey showed that Chinese society has made great progress in accepting homosexuals in the past 20 years, but many people still lack an understanding of gay people.

"The general public's acceptance does not mean they fully understand the LGBT groups," Zhang said, adding that the majority of Chinese people may accept homosexuals in society, but who would be opposed to having gay family members. 

Zhang said China should introduce homosexuality courses to its education system, as many young gay people's knowledge about homosexuality remain rudimentary, and some even infected with HIV through unprotected sex, Zhang said.

A report on the state of HIV and AIDS in China released this month shows that China had more than 7,000 students who are either HIV carriers or AIDS patients, and 64.8 percent of them contracted the virus through sex with people of the same gender, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Newspaper headline: But fewer than half support same-sex marriage

Posted in: Society

blog comments powered by Disqus