channelnewsasia.com - "First government-backed gay bar opens in China Posted: 20 December 2009 2054 hrs
Chinese gays gather at a gay bar in Dali in China's southwestern Yunnan province on November 29, 2009, ahead of the World AIDS Day.
BEIJING - China's first government-backed gay bar has opened after a three-week delay sparked by intense media attention, a charity said Sunday, in a nation where homosexuality is still a sensitive subject."
I just have to comment on this groundbreaking news. A bold initiative by a government that is considered conservative and opaque and repressive of human rights!
It seems that this bar was supposed to open on 1 Dec 2009 World AIDS Day but have to push it out to 20 Dec 2009 due to the overly enthusiastic and intense media reporting that rattled the volunteers and the potential patrons!
Of course, by initiating this action it does not mean it passes the test of acceptable global standard on other human rights that some people in the world considered as a birthright like freedom of expression, freedom of religion, etc.
Lessons for me are:
1. this decision is driven very much by rational thinking as aids is a very widespread issue, though relatively recent, in China. The facts cannot be ignored. Though not all gay contract aids but it is a fact that they are one of the high risk groups if they engaged in sexual intercourse unprotected. Apparently they have 30m homosexual though the official number is 15m;
2. the official backing this project admitted as much that this initiative is to provide a place where gay can get meet casually and in a relaxed environment to learn about aids and prevention, etc. It shows that the authority is very pragmatic and recognize the need to keep the communication open. This is significant considering that as recent as 2001 homosexuality is considered a mental illness!!;
3. as long as we keep our emotion in check and not bring in religion to this topic, I think we are able to approach it rationality. For me, my stance has always being: unless one is genetically pre-disposed to being homosexual, the act of homosexuality is a choice. In a society where the majority still cannot accept homosexuality, the homosexual just have to accept it and try to change the perception peacefully and legally. It will be a long and hard journey as it is quite difficult to perceive two males have sexual intercourse that does not produce a baby!
I applaud the move by the Chinese official and hopefully it will run for a long long time without some hot-headed people interrupting it!!