A gay couple has become the first to publicly engage in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan.
Liu Wangqiang and Lu Zhong threw an engagement banquet in a gay bar in Dongguan of Guangdong province on Thursday (23 August), entertaining some 300 friends including parents of gay children.
Walking slowing towards Lu under the latter’s singing, Liu got formally engaged to his love. They then tearfully bowed to the attendants, some of whom had ardently helped with organizing the party.
Saying Liu has promised to stay with him forever, Lu kissed his love and professed that they make the most fortunate couple in the world.
The couple has seen much blessing and support since deciding to get engaged. A studio offered to sponsor their wedding photography, while the owner of the gay bar let them use it for free.
When news of the engagement on the traditional Qixi Festival broke, it instantly went viral on Weibo, the Chinese Twitter.
As legend goes, a young cowherd called Niulang could only meet his fairy wife Zhinu (the weaver girl) once in the Milky Way on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month each year, after they were forcefully broken up.
But quite unlike the mythic couple, there were only two days when Lu and Liu didn’t see each other since falling in love more than two years ago.
They feel close both coming from single-parent families in Fujian province. Liu had to start working when he had barely started secondary school, while Lu’s parents divorced and left him neglected from his early teens.
Lou and Lu had both come out long before they met, believing they could be more true to themselves this way. When Lu’s father died of cancer last year, Lu brought Liu home and they attended the funeral together.
Even though homosexuality is still something of a taboo in China, Lu said they haven’t witnessed much trouble: ‘Oftentimes, people who see us holding hands would deliberately come over, even in their cars, but they would then simply leave us alone afterwards.
‘I regard it as just a sign that they want to know me, showing me some care.’
Had his father not passed away, Lu said they would have tied the knot last year in their hometown Ningde.
‘He once told me he would sacrifice anything for me, and I was so moved that I wanted to give him a proper status,’ Lu said, saying they do not need a wedding certificate.