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[ By | 27 Jun 2009 | 2 Comments ]
China’s gay community: Despite promising steps, the road ahead remains uncertain

When Professor Gao Yanming began teaching at Fudan University’s School of Public Health 10 years ago, the idea of teaching a course with the word “homosexual” in the title was unthinkable. Today, however, Gao teaches “Homosexual Health and Social Science”– the first gay-related course to be offered at a Chinese university.

The reason for this dramatic turnaround is difficult to pinpoint, but people familiar with gay and lesbian issues in China – gay and straight, locals and foreigners – voice the opinion that the West’s increasing openness about LGBT people and culture has had an impact.

“You can’t deny that Western culture, which is always pushing the bar, has something to do with it,” said Chris Xu, a gay Shanghai man. “I doubt being gay in China would be any more accepted if America [had] made no progress for tolerance in the past couple of decades.” Ironically, homosexuality in China is celebrated in the country’s ancient art. . . .