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16 Feb 2009

Activists hold mock wedding photo session on Beijing streets

Gathered near Tiananmen Square, two lesbian and gay male couples in traditional white wedding gowns and black tuxedoes respectively held mock wedding photo sessions in front of curious and bewildered passersby.

Identified in the media as partners, Zhang Yi and Hai Bei posed for wedding snaps in front of curious passersby at Qianmen Street.

Some 30 Chinese gay and lesbian activists in Beijing staged a mock wedding photo session on Feb 14 - Valentine's Day - to canvas for acceptance of same-sex relationships and marriage, reported Chinese gender and health web site Aibai.

Organisers gave out roses and flyers to onlookers to promote social acceptance of same-sex relationships and support of same-sex marriage laws. For the past few years sociologist Li Yinhe has been submitting proposals at the People's Congress to enact same-sex marriage legislation.

The Aibai report noted that for some passersby, it might be the first time they have met a gay or lesbian person in real life.

Although China does not specifically criminalise same-sex sexual acts and homosexuality is no longer officially considered a mental disorder, it is seldom discussed outside of city centres.

A female participant who asked to be identified as Dan Na said that while many opposite sex couples are openly going on dates on Valentine's Day, many same-sex couples are afraid to appear to be doing so.

The 24-year-old hopes for the event to have helped increase the visibility of gay men and lesbians, and that they are not much different from everyone else.

Zhang Yi, a 25-year-old male participant who posed with his parter Hai Bei, told reporters that like many other opposite-sex couples, gay couples too want to form a family unit with a loved one and for some, even taking a real wedding picture is a realisation of that dream.

Reader's Comments

1. 2009-02-16 20:28  
This is the kind of relevant journalism I have grown to expect from Fridae. Heartfelt support to my GLBT sisters and brothers in Beijing! This is the real way to EMPOWER GAY ASIA!!! Shine as much light as possible on Beijing (and elsewhere!) and keep it focused on the progress being made in mainland China.
2. 2009-02-16 22:18  
Super creative way of Queer activism. Old ways of activism and lobbying doesn't work anymore. Activism needs to be localized, and should be cheeky and fun. Western/Northern tactics don't apply in Asia.

chris (Malaysia)
3. 2009-02-17 05:23  
i hope that this will lead to social acceptance & being gay won't be a big deal anymore
4. 2009-02-17 09:45  
so cute!
Comment #5 was deleted by its author
6. 2009-02-17 09:53  
Wow!!! That must have took a lot of courage...n backbone- in conformist China. Bravo!!!!
p.s- Who are the 2 ladies? They're soooo pretty ;)))
7. 2009-02-17 12:23  
Just one word: Awesome :)
8. 2009-02-17 13:44  
so cool, i went to throw some rich, the Mainland Chinese gays are hip, with it, rich, fun and make their Singaporean cousins look pale in comparison:)

so much honesty and class here . .. respect, peace and the right way to do things

other people should take notes on what is going on here . ..
9. 2009-02-17 13:47  
much better than that Alex Au Indignation crap ever year . . .

glad Mainland Chinese have a lot more class, style, attitude and good taste in wedding attire

hey, Connor will throw you a nice wedding reception, let's talk!
10. 2009-02-17 14:23  
That was revolutionary...AWESOME! Thank You activists...supporting you all the way.
11. 2009-02-17 14:55  
connor, you may wish to note that Indignation is an effort of dozens, if not, hundreds of members of the LGBT community in Singapore. It's not just Alex Au although he is the one person who has continuously stuck his head out for over a decade showing many others that one can support gay rights publicly without being arrested or harassed by the police...
12. 2009-02-17 18:21  
yes...what a cool, creative, touching and heart-warming way to publically express that our HOMO-flavored love is just as real and just as valid and just as important as the heterosexual version . And how impressive that the government did not crack down on them.....
13. 2009-02-17 18:27  
Thanks Fridae! If I hadn't read it here, I would never have heard about this. Sadly, as if any mainstream (even mainstream gay) press outlet could care less about this.
We only ever hear the negative press out of China, never the positive stuff like this.
14. 2009-02-18 15:13  
awwww the photos are so cute =)
15. 2009-02-19 06:13  
statement done with class!!!!!! :-)
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Comment #17 was deleted by its author
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19. 2009-02-19 16:49  
The real irony is that we in Singapore enjoy mocking & sneering @ the mainland Chinese
& their accented English. Yet they've managed to outclass us time & again with guts & character.
Salut all u brave activists out there!
Send my regards to Didier Zheng too ;)
20. 2009-02-19 17:49  
Only idiots like mainland Chinese...of course Singapore and many others mock and sneer at them. People from mainland India and mainland China....are from big countries that are OVER populated and that makes them UN compasionate, unscrupolous...vicious...ill mannered, crass....impossing (they are rude in being defensive that people do not like their self imposing ways). Who the hell likes these no class people.
The Muslims here do not quite like the people from Middle East as they believe they are from the land where God walked and therefore they are greater...NOBODY like obnoxious arrogant bastards. NOBODY. No matter what they do....they are still people we should be wary about when we do business with them. Too many of them in their country, lives don't mean much to them, you think they care to strike a fair deal...without them making 100% profit and you bear all the loss. So they put a mock up of gay marriage.....BIG deal! They cannot do it if the country is a Muslim or Christian majority. The same reason why Thailand is a land of sex and sin while Philippines and Indonesia do it hush hush...all 3 countries have poor folks who would sell their butts for money.
Yes, lesbian marriage...that would work. Emotional ties. Gay marriage...that wouldn't work, ruled by testerone and sex drive, more divorces there to make manly lawyers of any gender, race or sexual preferance...laughing to the bank.
21. 2009-02-19 22:36  

Such a creative way of getting the message across to people, its a pity it wont get the press coverage that it deserves, well done guy and gals. Great idea, they should try this in Singapore next as they seem to be stuck in the days of Oscar Wilde :P
22. 2009-02-20 09:56  
Oh It is Great!!!!!!!!!It is fun too!!!!!!!
I am a Singaporean and go to Beijing to visit my boyfriend and happen to be at Tainanmen on that day 14th Feb to witness it.
I received a rose from 1 guy too.
When will Singapore allow to have this type of event openly??????????
23. 2009-02-20 12:14  
Wow Brownhard, yr words make Gymhotbod look likeable in comparison. And it seems there ARE good Singaporeans after all- oh,no,no, nt that Above Human one, I mean some of the posts I see below, like lonelyhappy & Bains. So to u guys & that sweet girl ;)) I'd like to say sorry for my earlier animosity towards Singaporeans... though I still don't like yr politicians, along with the China, Malaysia & Indonesia ones :p
24. 2009-02-20 15:30  
Brownhard, if you have personal issues or an axe to grind, the psychiatrist's office & not fridae forums is the place you should go. What we are commending here is the bravery of glbt activists in China trying to raise awareness in the midst of a very repressive envirornment. In what way does yr racist rants fit the topic?
25. 2009-02-20 16:51  
Agree with Bains. Racist rants and and personal attacks have no space on here.
26. 2009-02-20 21:11  
It looks like a nice, happy way to make a point. Very imaginative.
27. 2009-02-23 11:21  
There are no laws banning same sex couples hugging each other in public when they are wearing wedding suits or gowns. It breaks no laws and as long as they are not having sex in public, they cannot offend the conservative majority's sensibilities. At most, if they are kissing in public, someone will make a complaint and they will get a verbal warning.

It will treated as a farce, like all public performances. So yes, I think we can do it here too, if we so wish.

Kudos to our Chinese brothers and sisters though for doing that. Way cool! And I must congratulate the Chinese government. Beijing - at least, even if it is not that way yet in China's other cities - has a gay television programme. Beijing Uni has a Gender Studies course, not just modules. They are way ahead of Singapore already.

Every single report of tolerance and gradual acceptance in the world of homosexual love, sex and marriage, from both developed and developing nations is leaving us in the dust and makes us look bad.

If an issue of same sex love is so difficult for our leadership to surmount, it makes you wonder, what else can they not get their head around that is stopping us from developing as a society?

NB: I think Brownhard's comments on many of his postings are imappropriate and contain racist and sexist elements. I have reported his posting to Fridae a few times and do not understand why I have had no response so far. His responses and comments are a a direct violation of Fridae's terms of agreement Section 9.2 and the entire Section 10. See also his comments on Alex Au which are defamatory and subject to libel.
28. 2009-02-24 10:30  
wish they and all gays happy
Comment #29 was deleted by its author
30. 2009-02-24 11:09  
yep. way way way ahead of singapore.
gd for them, blessings;p
31. 2009-02-25 09:21  
Marriages between same sex in public is to gain social acceptance and social bonding otherwise they could have done it privately. ' Gay marriage...that wouldn't work, ruled by testerone and sex drive, more divorces' are individual matters. Brownhard does not believe in gay marriage but that does not represent all gay man. Dont tell us straight men are not testerone and sex driven. Aj, gay, commarades or lesbian, you have my blessing. Singapore, wake up.

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