17 Mar 2010

Shanghai gay life flourishes

Shanghai has a flourishing gay scene with an emergence of new bars, clubs and social groups although a good number of the men who participate are married to women, reports AFP.

The following is an excerpt from an AFP report via The Taipei Times:

Chinese gay men slow dance to a ballad in a Shanghai club. Photo by AFP

In a shabby hall in a working-class area of Shanghai, dozens of men slow dance to a ballad, enjoying a few hours in the company of other homosexuals before going home — many to their wives. 

Every weekend evening, men of all ages pay 7 yuan (US$1) to waltz, rumba and be themselves — no small feat in China, where homosexuals still face crushing social and familial pressure. 

“If you’re gay and people find out in my hometown, everything is over,” said Leon, a 28-year-old tour guide from Anhui Province who has lived in Shanghai for 10 years, is married and has a boyfriend on the side. “But in Shanghai, there are a lot of people like us and places like this — it’s a good city for us.”