A new documentary by prolific LGBT filmmaker Fan Popo focusing on the growing numbers of out and proud mothers of gay children in China was released online this week on the Queer Comrades website.
The film, Mama Rainbow, starts with interviews with young parents on the street about how they would feel if their child grew-up to be gay with mixed responses.
Then six supportive mothers and their children in cities across the country talk about what they have gone through together.
The film includes interview with Meiyi in Beijing who has her daughter’s girlfriend living with her while her daughter is studying abroad. ‘I feel that the whole process really educated me,’ she says. ‘I’m now 54 and I’ve found out that I still have room to grow.’
In Shanghai, Wugui says he prepared his mother Meijie for the news that he was gay over ‘many years’ drip-feeding her information about homosexuality. Meijie says that when he finally told her he is gay she ‘cried all night’. Now she answers a helpline for the parents of gay children twice a week and regularly gives encouraging talks to young gay people.
‘As a mother, I call upon the parents of gay children to accept their gay kids,’ says Meijie. ‘They don’t ask for much. You have got to accept everything about him/her if you have brought him/her to this world. Besides this is nobody’s fault. Homosexuality is a phenomenon in actual existence.’
Wu Youjian from Guangzhou in the south of China has been speaking out for more recognition of the rights of gay people with her son since November 2005. ‘There is no topic that cannot be discussed between me and my son. This is pretty rare in Chinese kinship relationships,’ she says during a talk at Beijing Normal University.
In Nanning Mama Jasmine hands out LGBT awareness leaflets on the streets with her daughter. ‘I’m gay myself,’ says her daughter to passerby. ‘And this is my mother. She’s very supportive.’
PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) China was established in 2009 with just a couple of parents. At their annual meeting this year they had over 40 family members turn out.
Coming out to their parents is usually the biggest anxiety that Chinese gay people have, they often marry the opposite sex out of filial duty, so the growing ranks of mothers speaking out for their children is encouraging.
Last week 18 mothers wrote a letter of complaint to Hangzhou Education Bureau for publishing a sex education booklet that said that described homosexuality as a ‘sexual deviance’.