Lesbians ‘Reflect Changes in China’ by Kissing ‘Romantically,’ Sporting ‘Boyish Fashions’


According to this letter to the New York Times, entitled “Visibility of Gay People Reflects Changes in China” there is changing acceptance of homosexuality in China, where a passenger on a Shanghai subway car observed the following, and hence felt obligated to inform The New York Times:

Seated directly opposite me, two teenage girls were kissing in an unmistakably romantic way. They appeared to be no older than 17. One of them, strong of build and with short hair, was dressed and coiffed in a masculine style. Her longhaired companion, who was dressed in a pretty pastel skirt, was the picture of classic, old-school sweet 16.

I tried to do what I immediately noted few of my fellow passengers could accomplish: not stare. But as I looked up from time to time, it struck me that among other things, amid all of the sustained touching, billing and cooing, there was willful, if mild, provocation taking place before my eyes.

The statement that was being made seemed to say: “This is a new age, and people of our generation are free to do as we wish in our love lives, so get over it.”

He goes on to state that “contemporary China is the scene of the most rapid, transformative change of any large country in the world today,” where “sexual choice and expression” is changing in ways “far more dramatic than even the physical landscape.”

In March 2010, The US China-Today’s article on Homosexuality in China painted a less creepy and more hopeful perspective on rapidly changing attitudes towards homosexuality in Hong Kong and, even more recently, in mainland China. China removed “hooliganism” (aka homosexuality) from the criminal law in 1997 and in 2001, the Chinese Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list. In 2003, the first undergraduate gay studies course was added to the curriculum at Fudan University in Shanghai and in 2007, a China chapter of PFLAG was founded.

China-Today attributes rapid change in China to a “lack of religion,” an influx of expatriates, higher education and the homo-friendly One Child rule and cites barriers to change including a strict expectation of heterosexual marriage as the expected life course, a lack of representation on television and in newspapers (censored by Chinese media) and a gigantic generation gap with many older people still believing homosexuality is an illness.  There’s also a proliferation of gay men marrying lesbians on purpose and people being out to friends, but not to family (similar to what Katrina reported about in the Philippines, which is considered Asia’s most “gay-friendly” country even though, according to Katrina, it’s actually really not to lesbians).

So back to that letter from The New York Times:

According to Feng Hui, an 18-year-old student and self-described lesbian whom I met at a shopping mall, a critical breakthrough occurred in 2005 with the victory of Li Yuchun, the 21-year-old winner of China’s “Super Girl” contest, a discontinued “American Idol”-like talent show. Throughout Ms. Li, who has sidestepped questions about her sexuality, wore her hair short and dressed in boyish fashions. Moreover, she won singing love songs written for men about women.

Just wait ’til Adam Lambert comes to Hong Kong


Do you have children? Well, Matt Chelpic does and he’s struggling with his son’s decision to dress up as Snow White for Halloween. In Salon‘s Is that my son in a dress?, Matt tries to figure out how to navigate the choppy waters of gender presentation for his son, and realizes that pretty much all the options we have available to us suck:

“Had I helped the grown-up world destroy some of his capacity for make-believe? Was I vocal enough in coaching him to ignore other people’s phobias? I don’t know the answers to these questions. But I know something for sure: When the sun was still intense and the sky electric blue, my son’s mind shimmered with possibilities. And by the time the season had turned grayish and cold, my son had learned the value of muffling what he truly wanted to be.”

There are a lot of sweet and heartrending essays on the Internet this week (slow news week side-benefit?), and this is one of them: After her son’s brain injury, the author noticed him doing a lot of things differently – like showing guests the oven and coming out as gay. Repeatedly. In “Why does my son keep coming out to me?” she wonders whether growing up with two moms impacted his current behavior, and how she can best support him.

Also  Conservative homophobic anti-bullying activists wish you’d stop bullying them about how you don’t want to be bullied anymore: Anti-Bullying Measures Are A Gay Plot, Says Gay-Bullying Org. Once, someone said that “…the quickest way to lose your mind is to try to fit a crazy person’s behavior into your reality. It doesn’t fit, so you have to make room. So you fit that information in the only part that has eternal vacancy; imagination. By then, too late, as I said: you’ve already lost it.”

That is how we feel when we read things like “In an interview with The Denver Post, Candi Cushman of Focus On The Family said, “We feel more and more that activists are being deceptive in using anti-bullying rhetoric to introduce their viewpoints, while the viewpoint of Christian students and parents are increasingly belittled.”

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. I think maybe my favorite part of the nytimes letter was this line:

    “‘Super Girl’ had more than 400 million viewers, and its balloting has been called the largest voting exercise ever conducted in China.”

    • I also like that this random person cites a girl he “met at the mall” as an expert source on lesbian relations.

  2. Unrelated really to that man’s little write-up, I will say that the best lesbian bar I’ve ever been to in the entire world is in Hong Kong. Now, I’ve only ever been to two lesbian bars total. BUT still, the bar in Hong Kong was awesome. And way more awesome than the other one not in Hong Kong. There were games, actual table-games, to be played. And everyone just paid $25 at the door for unlimited drinks so that the bartenders could also play the games without having to worry too much about who was drinking what. And the women I played table-games with were all from mainland China. And it was so gay and fun and relaxed.

      • I think you would really appreciate the games. The cutest part was that half way through my table-mates explaining the games to me I realized that I had already learned them in Taiwan but felt it was too late to say so, which led to a lot of compliments to follow on how quickly I caught on and how good I was for a foreigner. But seriously, so much fun was had.

    • OMG WHICH BAR. *is a queer girl in Hong Kong* Okay, so I’m not of legal drinking age in Hong Kong yet, but I could totally bear this in mind for when I turn 18!

      • It’s on Kowloon Island, just off of Nathan Road – Temptation Lesbian Pub.

        Now I was told, while there, that there was an even more popular Lesbian bar on Hong Kong Island, but I can only speak to the one on Kowloon. And it was so much fun.

        I doubt you would get ID’ed. I never got ID’ed once ever on the entire continent of Asia anywhere. I was 22 when I moved there so maybe I just looked old enough. But I really think you would not get ID’ed. NOT TO PROMOTE UNDERAGE DRINKING OR ANYTHING, just saying.

  3. The “anti-gay-bullying is bullying straight people” really confuses me…How could anyone with the functioning ability to use logic and reason ever accept that?





    ….Will now go stare at the screenshot from “Saving Face” at the top of the article to prevent ragebash.

  4. Li Yuchun is super adorable (and hot), you guys! I love her. She’s not very well-known in Hong Kong though. Or at least, I don’t think she is.

    The situation is definitely improving in Hong Kong, except I just found out that we won’t be having Pride this year because the result of last year’s fundraising isn’t good enough, apparently. D: Argh. I was hoping to finally be able to go to Pride this year, since I missed both of the last two years’.

  5. i was in shanghai for a few days this july and the first time i saw girls linking arms, walking down nanjing road, i was totally surprised and excited by the idea of their pda but then i saw so many women doing that and i realized they were (probably) just friends which was rather disappointing.

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