This was my second trip to Beijing since 2001. I was amazed by the big changes to this city. New high-rises, chic clubs, top brands boutiques, modernized people... Beijing can definitely claim herself to be a world class city now.
On the third night of my recent trip, I caught up with 3 friends, Xiaoyu, Feng, and Xiong. They brought me to a stylish pub at Sanlitun and we were all excited about the big event coming up in June - Xiong’s wedding… to a woman.
Me: Xiong, when I got the email about your wedding in June, I thought it was a typing mistake! A woman? You are going to marry a woman?
Xiong: Not surprising at all! It’s China here, darling. Although I don’t want to marry a woman, I have to! After all it’s a son’s duty to marry a woman and pass on the family name, but it can’t stop me hanging out with you guys or finding men. Feng, you also will get married eventually, no?
Feng: I can’t imagine putting my dick in another hole… Well, who knows? Maybe 10 years later, my parents will accept that I fuck guys!
Me: I thought the acceptance level is much higher than 10 years ago, but I seem to be wrong.
Xiaoya: There’s no big difference between 10 years ago and now… except… well, a few more bars and clubs, in Shangai too, of course. And we now have the internet. It helps us to find friends, and porn, much easier.
Feng: Talking about internet, Xiaoya, you are an online cheater, aren’t you? You never use your real name and status. Tell me, since when have you become a Navy officer?
Xiaoya: Are you kidding me? I can’t come out to the whole world!
Me: So who would you guys come out to?
Feng: I told all my friends… but I don’t dare to mention the word “GAY” to my family.
Xiaoya: I only tell the guys I fancy. If they look scared, then I will just say, “I’m kidding.”
Xiong: I believe coming out to family is a really tough task. Especially as I’m going to have a wife. Haha!
Me: So, Xiong, apart from your wife, are you seeing anyone else?
Xiong: Well, I will just play around because that’s much easier for a married man-to-be.
Feng: Agree! I won’t waste time on building up a relationship with a guy anymore. So hurtful!
Me: What happened?
Xiaoya: Oh! Haven’t you heard about his story with the married man? He dated for that bastard for almost a year. One day, when they went shopping at Wangfujing Street, that guy saw his wife and children coming, he immediately dumped Feng on the street and went back to his family.
Feng: I was humiliated!
Me: What a nightmare. So I think I’m the luckiest one… Although I’m also Chinese, living in Hong Kong makes it much easier to to choose my lifestyle. I can plan to live with my boyfriend and not feel forced to marry. But coming out to my parents will still be impossible.
Feng: Yes, I remember when the Mr. Gay China story broke in January last year, a couple of the contestants talked about coming out. One said he was out to his Mum and friends. But if he told his Dad he was gay, his Dad would just look confused and say “What’s gay?”
Xiong: Yes, I remember that too. Eventually the authorities found a way to ban the event. But not before it was a worldwide story. That gives us hope that change will still slowly come. By the way, there’s a really sweet little movie that shows just this issue for us. See if you can find it later.
Me: It was a lovely night spent with those friends. I’m happy to see that attitudes in China are slowly changing. I heartily wish all the young gay Chinese will be able to gain the right to choose their own lifestyle in the coming 10 years. As Xiong said as we hugged our farewells, “we’ve come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.”
Oh, and, yes, I found the movie. Very moving. Here it is.
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