Gay Weddings in China?

Gay Weddings in China? It does not seen possible anytime in the near future. USA and the 24 other countries recognize gay marriage on our planet. 175 Counties prohibit it. (Source Wikipedia, 10/18)

As we celebrate 8 years of equality in the USA (2015) , many tend to forget the widespread discrimination, torture, and murder of gay women, gay men and Trans elsewhere.

When a Hawaii wedding company married 2 gay men from Beijing it was “remarkable”.  They came to Hawaii just to get legally married. Their marriage will be recognized in the USA and other counties that recognize gay marriage. They know it will not be recognized in China, but they wanted to affirm their love for each other, and to know they are married in some places in the world. They requested their names and photos not be released.

Chinese government says no to gay marriage

In China, discrimination of LGBT people is increasing. Although China may portray itself as “upcoming modern”,  forced shock therapy still exists  in some places as does job loss, housing discrimination and media censorship. Many Chinese families and parents ban gays from their family unless they recant their  preference. According to the Human Right Campaign (HRC 2014, ) 8o% to 90% of gays are married to the opposite sex because of this treatment in China.

All this homophobia in China is interesting. In China’s past, dynasty’s accepted homosexuality with graphic art and written history documenting homosexuality as being accepted, and as a way of life.When England took over much of China in the 1839 war, and western thinking took hold, the Chinese adopted their Victorian way of thinking about homosexuality and that has not changed since.

Officially, in the 1960’s Chairman Mao believed in castration of “sexual deviants” (source Randy Shilts. Author of “Conduct Unbecoming”)  . Dr Zhusi, a Chinese physician that lived in revolutionary China and fled to America during the Cultural Revolution, said in his book “The Private Life of Chairman Mao”, that the Chairman had sex with young men.

When I interviewed several Chinese married men from 2014-2018, they all told similar stories of discrimination. They married women because they felt had no choice. Lesbians did the same. A GAY Wedding or just living together seemed impossible. They were sure the family would no longer speak to them, they would be outed at work and possibly fired and/or never have an opportunity for job advancement. They would be outcasts and most Chinese women and men feel this way still today. There are pockets of more acceptability in parts of Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

One single man told he did tell his family he was gay and they immediately called his employer and outed him purposely, and then they forbad him from leaving the house for 2 days. The family reads all his texts. He is 32 years old. He was devastated and is now trying to find a way to immigrate to another country. He fears he will be forced (black-mailed by family) into therapy.

I spoke to 2 other men who were granted political asylum in the USA, one in 2018 and the other in 2016. Its’ unclear how much longer the USA will allow asylum to LGBT in the future.

In 2018, President Xi has ordered the media to further censor the LGBT themes in the movies, Internet and on television programs. Gays can no longer be portrayed in the creative arts. They are edited out of any international or national programs. (Source: BBC. 11/18 issue)

Reports indicated Xi is ordering the increased censorship not because of his distaste of LGBTQs per se, but rather because of risks of activism and groups assembling.

An example of this would be a 2018 song contest shown produced by Eurovision in China (similar to “American Idol” or “Voice”), in which singers from many countries show their skills. The Irish male contestant had 2 gay-appearing dancers in the backdrop waving the rainbow flag. This skit/song was deleted and not shown to Chinese viewers.

There are first-hand reports from gays who have been forced to undergo gay conversion therapy (source Human Rights Watch, HRW) . The country’s controversial practice has long been known about, but the HRW study shows a look rarely shared from China.

“Gay conversion therapy” has been declared unethical, unscientific and harmful according to he World Psychiatric Association – and it is effectively illegal in China, yet still occurs. The case studies details severe abuse, forced medication and electric shock therapy taking place in Chinese hospitals. Some hospitals recently stopped doing this.

According to the advocacy director of the gay rights programmed at HRW, Boris Dittrich, it is also profitable. Doctors and clinics can charge up to 30,000 yuan ($4,530; £3,440) to “treat” gay people. The group is urging the Chinese government to end to such the abuse. It appears the opposite is occurring under Xi.

Abuse at the hospitals is terrible. HRW says “11 of those interviewed were forced to take medication without being informed about its purpose or side-effects. One 29-year-old gay man who underwent “treatment” at a public hospital in Fujian province three years ago said the doctors and nurses did not tell him what pills he was taking.

HRW continues their story and I quote them. “They just told me they were supposed to be good for me and help with the progress of the ‘treatment’,” he explained. Zhang Zhikun, a transgender woman, said she was forced to watch gay porn while being injected with a “colorless liquid”. Five of those interviewed were subjected to electric shocks while being shown images or videos – or given verbal descriptions – of homosexual acts.

Gong Lei described his experience.”The doctor asked me to relax because I was going to practice some kind of hypnosis and to think about sex scenes with my boyfriend – at that moment I felt pain in both wrists. I did not know what was happening.”

Another interviewee remembered going through nine electroshock sessions during his two-month “treatment”. ( end HRC quote) HRC contends with their story of the hospital abuse. One patient said “My wrists and arms felt numb, my head too. But the most painful part was my stomach.”

in 2016 the World Psychiatric Association said “so-called treatments of homosexuality can create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish, and they can be potentially harmful”.All of those interviewed told HRW that they were forced to have conversion therapy. Parents are ashamed their kids are LGBT.

All this homophobia in China is interesting. In past dynasty’s China accepted homosexuality with graphic art and written history, with homosexuality being accepted as a way of life. When England took over in 1839 and western thinking took hold, Chinese adopted the Victorian way of thinking about homosexuality and that has not changed since.

One lesbian said was under considerable intimidation  from her parents to have the treatment after outing herself.”My mom started screaming about unfortunate things happening to our family. My dad said he did not know how to continue living in this world.”

She said that her parents feared “facing other family members if people found out I was lesbian”. She felt backed into a corner by her parents and, reluctantly, attended the “gay conversion therapy” clinic.Zhang Zhikun went to so-called therapy sessions at a state-owned hospital in Shenzhen in 2012 under pressure from her parents.

“There wasn’t really much I could do to change my parents’ mind. I knew it was not going to work if I kept resisting their pressure.”  In some  conversion therapy “doctors” use brain-wash techniques to convince patients they will get AIDs if they don’t convert. Most of those forced to undergo therapy say they were subjected to verbal harassment and insults during treatment.

Zhang Zhikun said she was told by her doctor: “If you do not change [your sexuality], you will get sick and die of Aids.”She was also recounted emotional blackmail from those treating her.”Have you ever considered the happiness of your parents?” she was asked.

A gay man from Hebei province was told: “If you feel like having sex with another man you are sick.”

So as we here in the USA  we worry about a supreme court that might overturn some or all of our rights. Awareness of much more discriminatory practices in the world can not and should not go unnoticed. Gay weddings in China? Probably not for years.

Copyright 2022, Hawaii Wedding and Vow Renewal. DBA

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