British PM David Cameron's message on gay marriage inspires Chinese LGBT community

Cameron, who has 779,000 followers on China’s popular twitter-like service, addressed his readers in China during a post on Thursday about the UK’s introduction of gay marriage

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 April, 2014, 2:31pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 April, 2014, 8:32am

Members of China’s LGBT community said on Friday they were touched and inspired by a Weibo message from British Prime Minister David Cameron that called for tolerance on marriages between same-sex couples.

Britain's first same-sex marriages took place on Saturday midnight and Cameron hailed them as sending a "powerful message" about equality in Britain. Cameron, who has 779,000 followers on China’s popular twitter-like service, addressed his Chinese readers in a post on Thursday about his thoughts on the UK’s introduction of gay marriage.

“This weekend is an important moment for our country. For the first time, the couples getting married won’t just include men and women – but men and men; and women and women.” he wrote, “When people’s love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change.”

The Chinese text appeared to have been translated from an article Cameron penned for Britain’s Pink News, which used the same text in its title: “When people’s love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change”

Since opening his Weibo account in November, Cameron has posted 22 messages, mostly on topics about China. His post on Thursday received over 7,000 comments, with over 17,000 reposts as of Friday, and triggered heated discussion among China’s LGBT community.

“As a Chinese gay man, I am deeply warmed by Cameron’s words,” said Hu Zhijun, a Guangzhou-based gay rights activist.  “This will definitely inspire the Chinese to fight for equal marriage rights.”

Yet Hu, who has been working with other activists in trying to reach out to China’s lawmakers and make their voices heard, said making changes wouldn’t be easy.

“Most lawmakers we’ve talked to either never thought gay rights was an issue or didn’t believe it’s an urgent topic,” he said.

“We need to come together and take action to make ourselves heard,” he added.

China's LGBT community has become increasingly outspoken in recent years demanding equal rights and battling discrimination. 

In Feburary, a 20-year-old man in the southern city of Changsha filed a lawsuit against Hunan province's civil affairs department after his application to register a gay rights organisation was turned down.

Even though the court refused to accept the filing, the man's effort was seen as a milestone in a country where homosexuals have rarely challenged the government openly.