The LGBT community in China is reeling from the closure of a popular online gay discussion board hosted on forum site Tianya since 1999 but shut down last week.
An announcement was made by a community administrator on Sept. 28 saying: “Due to some external factors that are outside our control, this board will stop its operation on September 30, 2017. Users, please archive your personal data independently. We appreciate years of devotion and engagement by board moderators and friends.”
The board acted as a place where users told personal stories, published gay literature, networked, found romance, and discussed a wide variety of LGBT topics, particularly in the era before gay mobile apps, Weibo, and other social media in China.
One of the board’s moderators, Xiao Hongiu wrote, Sup China: “Now you don’t have to beg me to delete your posts, because all things will be cleared, including your love and hate, your joy and sorrow, your stories, and the time you spent with others in this place.”
Another use took to their Weibo account to say: “It’s hard to explain how such a board influenced me in just one post. In retrospect, I am grateful for this virtual space where I could gain comfort and courage from strangers when I was racked by self-doubt and self-denial because of my sexuality.
Sup China reports the most-discussed topics during the early stage of the board was a republication of Their World: A Study of Homosexuality in China, a book co-authored by well-known sociologist Li Yinhe.