Gay Activists in China Find Their Game Ahead of Olympic Spotlight

As Beijing gears up for the Olympics China’s LGBT community fights for rights

Activists from China’s LGBT community are gearing up for the international attention that this summer’s Beijing Olympics will likely shower on their continuing fight for same-sex rights. Since early this year, gay and lesbian groups have made extra efforts in showcasing their pride, including an exhibition that opened on March 23 at Beijing’s new gay community center displaying thousands of signatures in support of same-sex marriage.

Out lesbian Bin Xu, who heads the Chinese LGBT advocacy group Common Language, told the Washington Blade, “These signatures visibly demonstrate that love and commitment are values we all share, and it is our hope the government will legally recognize same-sex couples.”

More than 500,000 people are expected to attend the Olympic games scheduled this August 8 to 24, giving the LGBT community in China an unprecedented chance at maximum visibility. In recent years, the community has made considerable strides—perhaps most notably with the elimination of homosexuality from the category of mental disease in 2001. Despite this progress, prejudice and lack of recognition is still widespread in the country, causing LGBT activists to feel anxious about potential backlash on the eve of their global spotlight.

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