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Chinese Valentine's Day, our gay day!

English.news.cn   2013-08-13 21:19:49            

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 Tuesday.

"I wish I could meet my other half on this special day," said Wang.

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 Tie.

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 today.

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 2001.

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 HIV/AIDS.

"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.)

Editor: An
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