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16th of July 2018


LGBT and Sexism in China: Growing out of the obsolescent mindset | The China Post

Participants pull a rainbow tarpaulin through the gay and lesbian parade in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on May 24, 2017, making the island the first place in Asia to recognize gay unions. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

By Anne Huang

Taiwan is currently ahead of China with gender issues, but is this enough to escape China’s prodigious expansion of politics and culture?

China’s patriarchal society and mindset is rooted in every corner of their sexist community, and unlike their spiking economic growth, the primitive mindset of the Chinese body is not evolving as quickly as it needed to be, and if not dealt with soon will become a huge obstacle preventing China from finishing its transiting into the modern age. China’s tendency to curb information and filter ideas also does not assist in solving this problem. Despite the fact that the Chinese people are very conscious and knowledgeable about these new ideas, the Chinese government is still remotely wary of too much change. The party should consider these new ideas and welcome the change in their own hands, in order to keep the situation under control while at the same time assist hand in hand with China’s new form and allowing the country to continue to thrive even with them in power.

Despite the fact that China for obvious reasons is more significant and important than Taiwan from an international standpoint, Taiwan’s achievements such as LGBT rights as well as their development from Asian’s sexist culture is to be praised. Taiwan definitely deserves to view this with pride, and allow these achievements to be examples of what China and other Asian countries could become if they successfully welcome change.

On April 13 this year, the Chinese social media platform Weibo announced that they would eliminate and ban pornography, violence, and other LGBT related content. Among them, a Chinese LGBT group called “The Voice of the Comrades” published a statement very early on the morning the next day (14th)  stating “ due to undefiable reasons, The Voice of the Comrades Weibo group would be taking a break”. Instantly, a mass number of Chinese online users swarm in Weibo to express their opinions through hashtags such as #IsupportLGBT, #IamLGBT, #Iamgaynotpervert, and others to show their support. Many also used the tag “#slag” to try and get Weibo to acknowledge their opinions, but these posts got deleted soon after. The LGBT group believed they got a small victory after Weibo finally announced that they would not be cleaning up LGBT related contents and posts.

Another pair of Chinese female gay couple started handing out rainbow badges on May 13th at the Beijing 798 Art Park. They are trying to create a solidarity for a “No fear for LGBT” event, but only to engage the public instead, resulting them to be badly beaten. It sparked quite the controversy on the internet, and a tag “798hittingincident” led to the event.

FILE – In this July 31, 2014 file photo, gay rights campaigners act out electric shock treatment to protest outside a court when the first court case in China involving so-called conversion therapy is held in Beijing, China. A gay man in central China has successfully sued a mental hospital over forced conversion therapy on June 26, 2017, in what activists are hailing as the first such victory in the country where the LGBT rights movement is gradually emerging form the fringes. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

Outside of the gay community, the Chinese patriarchal structure also several suppresses every person living under China’s social environment. The sexism in China is never just plain sexism, it exists because these kinds of sexist ideologies are the kernel of the Chinese culture. A book called “The Woman of China: Sex discrimination and uneven distribution of wealth in power games focuses on the “Leftover Girls” ideology statistics in the 21 century Taiwan. There are multiple notorious sexist sayings in Taiwan such as “if you (women) don’t have a home you can’t get married”, “unmarried woman are leftovers”, and “the house after the marriage can only belong to the husband”. These things indubiously happen for real in China all the time, and no matter how ridiculous it sounds, it’s, unfortunately, an expected ideology in this society.

A couple poses for a photograph after completing marriage registration at Qingyang District of Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2003. On Wednesday, China eliminated a much-resented requirement for couples to obtain their bosses’ approval before tying the knot, prompting thousands of couples to wed in what, for some, was also a celebration of the retreat of outside interference in their private lives. (AP Photo / Xinhua)

The book made another point on the favoritism in Chinese parents, and how this also heavily contributed to the existing factors in the Chinese community. Regarding this problem, the government was very supportive and keen in making new plans to rid of this idea and support the Chinese people from growing out of this ignorant and wrong mindset. This includes making sure that the wife and husband both receive equal financial distribution and especially necessary rights in both parties.

China’s gender stereotypes and roles also forced gay couples to stand out like a sore thumb. Naturally, the Chinese parents are all not big fans of these homosexual marriages, and so many of these gay couples in order to please their parents would often force themselves into heterosexual marriages and hide their true sexuality in the process. The pressure girls received to get married to not turn into “leftovers” also dull and limit their choices when it comes to men, resulting them to hastily choose a partner whether or not if the choice would benefit or harm herself, and whether they are compatible or not, raising the divorce numbers significantly in China.

A Chinese couple compete in a contest for Beijing’s Best Bride and Groom at an international wedding exhibition held in Beijing, China, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2005. China’s divorce rate increased by 21.2 percent in 2004, with more than 1.6 million couples divorcing. In the same year 8.3 million registered for marriage, a 3 percent increase, according to the China Daily newspaper. (AP Photo/Str)

Estimates perceived that there are about 20 million gay men in China currently, with 80% of them already married with women. In order words, China has at least around 16 million “gay wives”  living in painful and unhappy marriages. It also doesn’t help that a vast majority of these marriages are quite cold, loveless, violent, and detached. The domestic violence and abuse these women receive cause over 90% of these wives to suffer from depression, leading to them to commit suicide. These people die because they cannot escape being forced to live with a husband who doesn’t love, appreciate, and endure them, not to add on they themselves deep down just physically cannot be happy due to their sexuality. This is why it’s important for countries, especially Asian countries to start recognizing more the importance of giving out these LGBT rights. Taiwan being an example is something that deserves to be praised, and many more hopeful LGBT people would come out using Taiwan as an example for their governments to grant them the same rights.

Teresa Xu, left, and Li Tingting, right, share a kiss in a beauty salon where the two were preparing for their wedding in Beijing, Thursday, July 2, 2015. A prominent Chinese lesbian couple held a simple ceremony Thursday to announce their informal marriage, in their latest effort to push for legalization of same-sex unions in China. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

However, these stereotypes also harm males. Males being under the pressure to be “masculine” stress them to compete for competition among these men and give the false idea of “failures” if they’re not rich or successful enough. Sayings such as “women only want males with houses” creates an impression that oppresses males with lower salaries even further down the Chinese social hierarchy. This also brand women with a false “greedy” reputation. But one thing that both males and females suffer and are is the pressure to marry and start a family since these stereotypes would automatically label anyone that wasn’t married or with kids at a certain age a failure and looked down upon by everyone.

A couple in wedding dress look at photos on the back of a camera near a propaganda slogan with the name of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Saturday, May 19, 2018. Banners heralding the ruling Communist Party’s philosophy and goals dot the streets of China’s capital as a reminder to citizens of the government’s aims. The full billboard reads “To more closely unite around the party central committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, spare no effort to strive for the success of the great new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Another great example to show how the sexist tenets negatively affect China is the one-child policy. China’s attempt at population control further highlighted the sexism in China, with parents only allowed to have one child, many will then do everything in their power to ensure their only child is male, resulting in the unbalanced gender ratios, and an excessive number of abandoned female orphans as well as abortions.

To make it worst (especially for the men), this works especially in their disadvantage because with the additional pressure of marrying at a certain age, the male and female ratio differences drastically worsen many single men’s chances in finding a mate in China, especially the ones on the lower social hierarchy due to mainly their looks and salary.

Taiwan so far has the advantage of being ahead of many other Asian countries in terms of recognizing the LGBT community. Although this may not seem much, it can be a really positive example for communities to look upon, and hopefully can inspire governments to understand the importance of allowing these communities to flourish in order to bring their community out of their shell and evolving them from their outdated and damaging mindsets.

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