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November 21, 2014

China’s State Newspaper Runs LGBT Feature

By Darren Gan

This Tuesday, China’s state newspaper Global Times ran the feature story, “How a Chinese Rural Gay Couple Defied Gossip, Exorcists and Arranged Marriage,” the first LGBT-specific feature story to appear in mainstream Chinese media.

Stories concerning LGBT issues are typically considered promotion of a corrupted lifestyle. While it’s not official policy, it’s common knowledge that China’s General Administration of Press and Publication—the agency responsible for regulating and distributing news, print, and Internet publications—has generally not allowed the media to run LGBT stories. Similarly, the agency that supervises the television, radio, and film industries has prohibited the portrayal of LGBT characters.

But that all started changing in 2011 when Sports Illustrated China reported on World Outgames and Gay Games in its cover story. And with social media and apps like Weixin or Wechat becoming extremely popular, LGBT issues are losing their taboo.

The Global Times story reads: “He has seen more and more people coming out of the closet, and many parents, like Yebin's mom, starting to help others in the same situation and sharing their experiences on television.” Perhaps China is turning a corner on LGBT rights.