BEIJING, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- When several gay couples began
kissing in the street to mark Chinese Valentine's Day, or "Qixi,"
passersby were first surprised and then cheered and applauded.
"The festival is not only for heterosexuals. I also hope to be
blessed on this day," said Xiao Li, after kissing his man on a
Beijing street for more than ten minutes.
"Love, no matter what kind it is, is worth blessing," said an
onlooker who witnessed the kissing.
On this traditional Chinese day of romance, gay people felt no
awkwardness in celebrating their love.
Wang Xiao, who came out in May this year, took part in a
matchmaking party organized by the Parents, Families and Friends of
Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in south China's Guangzhou on
"I wish I could meet my other half on this special day," said
In an increasingly open China, gay people, particularly the
young, have grown accustomed to observing Qixi, a holiday that
originated from a myth about the love between an ordinary herdsman
and a fairy.
"Qixi festival is all about love, so it should be a day for all
Chinese lovers, including gays," said Xiao Tie, a key member of the
non-governmental Beijing gay center.
As recently as 10 years ago, homosexuals would not dare show
their love in public for fear of discrimination, according to Xiao
However, he said many gays have now begun choosing gifts for
their loved ones even one month before the festival.
The center held a ceremony and various other activities on
Tuesday to celebrate the festival and call for understanding and
tolerance towards the gay community.
During last year's Qixi festival which fell on Aug. 23, two
young men from Dongguan in south China married with the blessing of
parents and friends as well as hundreds of strangers. Their wedding
ignited debate over the legality of gay marriage.
"China has become more open-minded and tolerant of homosexuality
along with economic development and the advancement of society,"
said Li Yinhe, a noted sexologist from Beijing. She believes that
only a few people explicitly oppose homosexuality in China
On popular twitter-like social website weibo.com, netizens are
forwarding posts like "Happy Qixi festival to all lovers, no matter
if you are gays, lesbians, heterosexual or bisexual."
Worldwide, countries including the Netherlands, Belgium and the
United Kingdom have recognized gay marriage. Eight states and
Washington D.C. in the U.S. have also legalized gay marriage. In
China, homosexuality was deleted in the list of mental illnesses in
The number of PFLAGs and other homosexual organizations has
sharply increased in the past five years, promoting tolerance of
the homosexuality community and helping prevent the spread of
"Only a minority of people still regard homosexuality abnormal,"
said Xiao Tie.
"Homosexuality adds to the diversity of society and culture, and
it should be accepted." he said. Enditem
(Xiao Li and Xiao Tie appearing in this article are aliases
given by the respondents.)