Calling it “pride festival with Chinese characteristics”, organisers of Shanghai Pride 2010 say the line-up this year will comprise a series of small, indoor events such as film screenings, art exhibitions, parties and panel discussions but without the protests and parades – that have come to be associated with similar festivals elsewhere – due to local restrictions. The events will be held at private venues that would only be made public on its website three days prior due to what happened last year.
Last year, a play about a gay hate crime and two movie screenings had to be cancelled due to licensing issues rather than them being gay linked, organisers told Fridae. According to reports last year, the police visited all the venues associated with the festival as soon as the venues were announced. The eight-day festival drew an estimated 3,000 people.
“There will be no parades, no processions, no protests but yes, we believe it's still possible to celebrate Pride given all these restrictions! We believe wholeheartedly that it is possible to celebrate diversity and unity in a harmonious fashion.” Kenneth Tan, spokesperson for Shanghai Pride, told Fridae.
Organisers say the festival seeks to raise the awareness of the general public about the LGBT community and have chosen "Diversity, unity, harmony” to the theme this year.
Tan, a 28-year-old Singapore-born businessman and long-term resident in Shanghai, explained: “Unity relates to the community-building focus of Shanghai Pride 2010. This festival is about getting the gay and lesbian community to come and celebrate together. Just about every local LGBT group that we know of in Shanghai has rallied to make Pride possible. We're very happy to see them coming around to take ownership of Shanghai Pride.”
“Our focus on Diversity is two-pronged: On the one hand, we're celebrating the potpourri of subcultures that you'll find within the LGBT community, but on a more macro level, we're also reaching out to our straight allies. Shanghai Pride 2010 is not just for gays and lesbians. We want our families, friends and colleagues to join us in all our festivities this year. Pride shouldn't be just about the LGBT community issuing a plea for acceptance to society at large. It's also an opportunity for the parents, siblings, friends and co-workers of gays and lesbians to tell them, ‘We love you and accept you for who you are!’”
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From one who was detained by the police in New York City in the Stonewall Bar (see my photos here), released, and joined in the first
gay riot against police brutality and repression, well at least in NYC.
1) public education:-about why it's important to be more tolerant towards gays (the social and economic rationale; suicides & tragedies; potential for accepted gays to contribute more to family & society); homosexuality isn't a disease; sexual orientation cannot be chosen and more biological factors have been documented by scientists; sexual orientation cannot be changed and "change therapy" isn't scientific.
2) PR with politicians:- express willingness to discuss possibility of working together with health authorities to reduce HIV infection rates; invite politicians to informal meals regularly for discussions about how the LGBT community may support the government in social, political and public health areas.
3) PR with academics:- invite more academics to participate in public education mentioned above; sponsor empirical research which findings may help politicians make evidence-based public policies (e.g. links between mental health/public health spending & tolerance towards LGBT; effectiveness of anti-HIV campaigns launched jointly by the authorities and the LGBT community vs those launched by either party; correlation of economic development with diversity tolerance and Gay Index (ref: Professor Florida).
4) Community networking and support:-LGBT counseling hotlines; community-affirming in-house events and seminars; partnership between LGBT businesses and LGBT NGOs (e.g. financial support); advisory to LGBT businesses on the ethical aspects of their businesses; HIV screening; leaflets about safer sex; grooming LGBT leaders.
It's exciting to watch how much China's LGBT community have progressed in a span of 10 years. Keep up the good work!
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