Queer Comrades website, China’s ‘LGBT TV channel’, has released a video about last month’s pride march in Changsha, Henan province.
It was the biggest LGBT pride parade in China so far, after Changsha Pride debuted on a much smaller scale last year.
Shanghai has had its own pride festival every year since 2009 but without a march, as all demonstrations are heavily cracked-down upon in China.
‘Any kind of march will be looked upon as a demonstration, or some sort of protest,’ said Shanghai Pride organizer Charlene Liu to Gay Star News.
‘Shanghai Pride [14 to 21 June 2013] creates awareness and promote tolerance through arts, panel discussions, films, outdoor, and social activities. There are other means to send a message across the community.’
The march in Changsha, central China, for IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May) was not approved by the authorities and the 19-year-old organizer Xiang Xiaohan was arrested and detained for 12 days. A lawyer hired by the LGBT community was unable to secure his release.
‘After Xiaohan was detained some people called the event a failure and urged us to draw lessons from it,’ says the narrator on the Queer Comrades’ video.
‘We think that’s a mistake to call the event a failure. While we need to think how to do better next time. We also have to celebrate the courage of Xiaohan and his team and congratulate them on a very successful event.’
Xiang said ‘next time they might detain me for 15 days. If that’s what it takes to hold another event, then that’s fine by me’.
Eighty people from cities all over China attended the march along the river bank by Hexi University in Changsha chanting ‘no more fear, we are the world’ and ‘support LGBT, fight discrimination’. It was covered by local news in print and on TV and internationally.
On Saturday 18 May, a day after the march in Changsha, representatives from the third annual Dongbei (Northeast) Homosexual Culture Festival marched in the Dalian International Walking festival. This was an officially approved march but persistent rain dampened spirits.
Watch the Queer Comrades video of Changsha Pride here: