China’s students increasingly tolerant of gays

I think we all know this already, but it’s nice when Xinhua itself makes the announcement.

A survey shows that universities in China are becoming more liberal about homosexuals, official news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday.

The survey was done by Jiang Qiuyu and five of her classmates from Beijing`s China University of Nationalities. They had posted information on homosexual Web sites, held face-to-face interviews and distributed questionnaires around 10 universities in Beijing, including prestigious Qinghua University and Beijing University.

The results, published in local newspaper China Youth Daily, showed that among the 582 online respondents who were gay, nearly 74 percent were men.

Jiang said, ‘We found that university is the place many gay men first identify their sexual orientation.’ She added, ‘People with homosexual tendencies believe campus life is more relaxed than the rest of society,’ Xinhua reported.

Sun Zhongxin, an associate professor of sociology at Fudan University in Shanghai, emphasized that the number of homosexuals on campus is not growing and the campuses are not breeding grounds for homosexuality.

All I want to know is, was Sun Zhongxin’s quote really necessary? I think its defensive nature detracts from the rest of the article. Why the need to reassure readers, as though homosexuality were a dire, spreading threat?

The Discussion: 12 Comments

Of course, on the one hand, it’s ridiculous to imagine homosexuality “spreading”. Most straight guys couldn’t be gay even if we tried, and vice versa. (And then what would the point be anyway?)

But on the OTHER hand: Well, even if half of China “turned gay” and stopped having children, wouldn’t that be in line with the government’s policy of stopping population growth?
Sounds a lot better than forced abortions, to me…

February 1, 2006 @ 10:45 am | Comment

With the relatively larger number of guys in China, it seems like it’s the only way to go.

February 1, 2006 @ 12:57 pm | Comment

They forgot to mention that there were no gay people in China until the concept was introduced by decadent westerners. I honestly heard that from a mainlander once.

February 1, 2006 @ 1:00 pm | Comment

It should be Tsinghua Univ. instead of Qinghua.

To Skystreaker,
it’s not the only way to go. There are girls outside China.

February 1, 2006 @ 1:39 pm | Comment

You’re abolsolutely right. But outside of China’s a very competitive market. The number of asian girls pairing up with non asian men are many times higher than the reverse. Plus, the vast majority of Chinese cannot afford to leave.

But that’s a whole other discussion.

February 1, 2006 @ 1:53 pm | Comment

Hm. I wonder if CCTV can come up with a special “Gala Event” with Song Zuyin singing a Chinese translation of “YMCA”:

“Young man, put your pride on the shelf,
You know, no man, does it all by himself….”

February 1, 2006 @ 2:44 pm | Comment

That’s great that Xinhua published such an article! I think the “defensive comment” may have been needed (although it’s prominence may have been due to editing), as there are of course still many misconceptions over homosexuality in China (just like back home!).

Recently I had an educated, cultured Shanghainese businesswoman in one of my business English classes, who expressed an opinion that homosexuality was bad because it reduced reproduction.

You can imagine what I was thinking, standing in a country of over a billion swarming, pushing, shoving people, about the validity of that objection.

Now, if the upoming Ox Milk Super Boy competition produces a gay winner to match the Ox Milk Super Girl, Xinhua will *really* have story! ๐Ÿ™‚

February 1, 2006 @ 10:25 pm | Comment

Liu Yixi

Incorrect, homosexuality is a part of natural life. It has been documented in Chinese history centuries before Europeans started visiting. Even Chinadaily has an article on this:

http://tinyurl.com/dq639

February 2, 2006 @ 2:49 am | Comment

Raj, if you read Liu Yixi’s comment again I think you’ll find that it was made in a sarcastic voice.

It’s nice to hear that campuses in Beijing may be becoming more tolerant. It’s not so comforting for gay students in other, less progressive, parts of China. What do you say when your student attempts suicide because his dormitory-mates have discovered his sexuality and stopped talking to him? When the doctor in the hospital you’ve taken him to says, “If I was gay, I’d kill myself too.” When the psychiatrist they send round to the ward tells him, “You can stop being gay if you want to try.”

This incident happened three years ago, and a long long long way from the privileged campuses of Beijing, but it really scarred me, and gave me a rather pessimistic attitude towards Chinese peoples’ acceptance of homosexuality. The young man in question, however, recovered fine and is currently in a very happy, stable relationship in a town far away from a) his family and b) his college.

February 2, 2006 @ 7:02 am | Comment

We need sarcasm tags…….

February 2, 2006 @ 8:16 am | Comment

Dish, I agree completely and hope no one gets suckered into believing being gay in China nowadays is a picnic. There’s a lot of grief and torture, even for those gays lucky enough to have made it to the big coastal cities. I know this for a fact, and while progress has been made there is an incredibly long way to go.

February 2, 2006 @ 10:11 am | Comment

Dish, that’s a sad story (at least a happy ending!), reminding us big city dwellers of the huge gulf between the urban concentrations and the rest of this huge land.

It also reminded me what it was like where I grew up, in the rural midwestern USA. When I was a teenager in the 70s, people where I lived thought that being a “fag” was the only thing worse than being a “n1gger”. So, I can relate to those young gay country people in China.

Things in the USA have changed a great deal in thirty years, let’s hope China changes even faster in this way as well.

There are a a lot of brave gay people in China these days, probably all foreigners here know some. They pay a high price to make their situation public, but they are clearing a path for many more who will follow. I think this is a critical generation for Chinese gays, they will make an enormous difference in how this society views and accepts homosexuality.

February 2, 2006 @ 3:52 pm | Comment

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