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Fourth Shanghai Pride builds strength of LGBT community

Foreign and Chinese LGBT community celebrate Pride in Shanghai
Shanghai Pride organizers, volunteers, US consulate officers and speakers and the 'coming out' panel discussion

The fourth Shanghai Pride rounded off a successful week of festivities on Saturday (23 June).

The celebration began with 1,000 people at the opening party on Saturday 16 June, beating last year’s attendance of 650. The party was at bars, Rico Rico and B Bar, with outside space along Shanghai’s Huangpu River with stunning view of city skyline.

‘It was important to be able to have it outdoors because it goes well with this year’s slogan: “Don’t Hide, Don’t Change, Be Proud!”’ said one of the organizers Charlene Liu.

Countering the accusation that Shanghai Pride is more for foreigners than local Chinese people, Liu said they had seen much more Chinese involvement this year.

‘We especially received a lot of local support for volunteering,’ said Liu. ‘The cooperation with local LGBT groups and the support of media helped. The Consulates of France, Germany, Spain, and the Kingdom of Netherlands provided a lot of support for the arts events to promote cross-cultural interaction.’

One event that was attended by 80% local Chinese people was Friday afternoon’s
panel discussion about coming out held at the US consulate. The room was packed with around 150 people.

The discussion started with a showing of the touching film Anyone and Everyone about American families from all walks of life reacting to their children telling them that they are gay. This was followed by two American consulate officers speaking, in Chinese, about their own coming out stories.

Then spiritual auntie of China’s gay youth, Lu Rong (Ou Ayi) and Xingxing Mama who lives with her son and his boyfriend spoke about approaching Chinese parents.

‘It is very inspiring to hear positive stories about people coming out, from both American and Chinese people,’ said Liu. ‘It is also encouraging to see that attendees coming out for events like this and we definitely need to secure bigger venues in the future.’

The funds raised from t'shirt sales and raffle prizes will go towards setting up a permanent LGBT center in Shanghai. But it’s not going to happen straight away. ‘The LGBT center will be a long term project,’ said another organizer Dylan Chen. ‘I wish one Pride festival can help with everything!’

‘We need to find a venue who will allow us to have a center,' said Liu, after Beijing LGBT center experienced landlord trouble earlier this month. 'We need to discuss how the center is to be managed and how all the LGBT groups can utilize this space. We will definitely be seeking advice from other centers.’

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