Chinese parents of gays and lesbians demand equal marriage rights

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, 11:13am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 February, 2013, 4:02pm


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More than 100 parents of gays and lesbians in China recently wrote an open letter to delegates of China’s National People’s Congress, which is scheduled to convene in March, demanding marriage equality for their children.

Calling themselves “comrade parents” ["comrade” is often used in Chinese these days as a slang for  "homosexual"], they confessed anxieties and worries for their gay children, who under China’s current marriage law aren’t allowed to marry their partners, and therefore excluded form rights and benefits enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

"Chinese lesbian couple snubbed by registry official", Video by Simon Song and Hedy Bok

The man in a purple hat in the video is famous Chinese actor Pu Cunxin, also an active campaigner for HIV/Aids patients' rights. He stopped to have a chat with the couple and expressed moral support for them.

“The fact that they can’t legally marry puts them in a difficult situation when they try to adopt children, sign for their partners' operations, inherit assets from a deceased partner, or even buy a flat,” reads the letter.

The parents then criticised the current laws.

“Is our law trying encourage homosexuals to marry heterosexuals?” they said, “Won’t this produce bigger social problems?”

These parents, who come from different parts of  China, published the letter through PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) China, a Guangzhou-based grass roots origination that promotes LGBT rights and helps gay parents.

A Qiang, a worker at PFLAG, told the South China Morning Post on Wednesday that many parents first came to the organisation for consultation after finding out their children were gay.

“Grdually they realised they wanted to do things to help their children live life as equals,” he said.

Even though the letter has been widely circulated online and reported by several major Chinese newspapers, A Qiang said he hasn’t heard yet from any NPC delegates.

He said he was determined to keep reaching out to delegates by writing or calling them.

Li Yinhe, a leading Chinese sexologist and promoter of LGBT rights, earlier this month asked NPC members to help submit  a proposal to legalise same-sex marriages.  

"Homosexual people are Chinese citizens and there are homosexuals who want to get married. Their request should be addressed as it does not run against their civil rights as citizens,” read Li’s proposal.

It's not clear whether Li has successfully enlisted any NPC members.

Marriage rights for gay people became a hot topic on China’s social media this week after two Beijing lesbians were not allowed to register for marriage in Beijing on Monday. 


An English version of the open letter