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April 16, 2015

Winners include Jolin Tsai and IBM 

Transgender activist Nisha Ayub was named Hero of the Year at the second Asia LGBT Milestone Awards & Diversity Leadership Forum (ALMA) on Wednesday (15 April) night in Bangkok.

The Malaysian, who was thrown into prison for being trans, won a landmark case to overturn an Islamic anti-cross-dressing law in the Muslim-majority country.

Entrepreneur of The Year went to Geng Le, a former policeman who made headlines the world over when his gay dating app Blued received US$30 million in mainstream capital investment.

April 13, 2015

Receives more than 190,000 mostly supportive comments on social media

A national model citizen who took care of her sick mother for 15 years has made headlines again in China after undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

Winnie Liu, 28, said she felt 'more complete' after finishing the more than 20 procedures on 8 April.

Her announcement sparked debate in the conservative country, attracting more than 190,000, mostly supportive, comments on Weibo, China's version of Twitter.

'She looks pretty,' one person wrote. 'It’s two totally separate issues between being a model citizen and changing gender.'

April 10, 2015

Find out what it takes to be shortlisted for an Asia LGBT Milestone Award

Business is at the heart of securing positive change for LGBTI people in Asia.

They sponsor pride parades and festivals, try to support their gay and trans staff, and even change hearts and minds.

Here are the 11 organizations shortlisted for the second Asia LGBT Milestone Awards (ALMAs).

100 judges are now choosing the final winners who will be announced at a ceremony in Bangkok on 14 April with tickets available here.

April 10, 2015

China is changing for the better for the gay community, but trans people are still marginalized. Tingting Shen of Asia Catalyst reveals more

In a rapidly changing China, the gay community is becoming more visible, recognized, and accepted by the general public. The transgender community, however, remains extremely marginalized and face extreme stigma and discrimination.

Transgender people are neglected by policy makers, abused by State and non-State actors, and are unable to fulfill a range of rights, including on privacy, legal identity and personal autonomy.

April 10, 2015

Pop stars, entrepreneurs, film makers, TV celebrities and a current prisoner

From India to Japan and everywhere in between, the LGBTI movement in Asia is gathering pace.

So meet 21 of its greatest heroes.

They’ve written books, made films, founded organizations, fought in the courts and taken on the most challenging work.

Most of all they’ve stood up for their fellow LGBTIs – and often been rewarded only with harassment, persecution and even imprisonment.

But now they are being recognized. They are all nominated for the second Asia LGBT Milestone Awards (ALMAs).

March 24, 2015

Doctors say he could have died if he had gone without food much longer

A 20-year-old Chinese man was imprisoned and nearly starved to death by his sugar daddy who did not want any hassle after he left the younger man.

The younger man, surnamed Liu, was locked in the apartment his lover rented for him in Chongqing for five days.

The term 'sugar daddy' started trending on Chinese social media after Chinanews.com broke the story.

Neighbors reported Liu to police after they saw him lying on the balcony, initially mistaking him for a thief.

Police arrived at the scene and rushed Liu to hospital.

March 16, 2015

See more photos inside

A medical student has become an internet sensation in China after photos of him selling sanitary napkins in drag went viral.

Liu Dengjun, 20, a third-year sudent at Luzhou Medical College in Sichuan province, said dressing as a woman allowed him to get closer to his customers and experience the many inconveniences in a girl's life.

He wears a dress, simple make-up and high-heel shoes to promote his online sanitary napkins delivery service, which he said makes RMB10,000 to 20,000 a month.

March 12, 2015

BodyAware offers some more adventurous options for let their underwear do the talking.

Established in 1988 in the small English village of Trowbridge, BodyAware has found a niche in the highly competitive men's underwear market.

We caught up with founders Kristina and David Bonfield to find out why men's underwear is coming over all sexy.

How did you make the move into starting an underwear business?

March 2, 2015

Letters are posted ahead of the country's annual legislative sessions

The father of a gay man has written to 1,000 Chinese lawmakers calling for the legalization of gay marriage.

Lin Xianzhi, 61, said he hoped that his proposal would help secure equal rights for gay couples, including medical care, inheritance and property.

His son, Xiaotao, came out as gay in 2011 and has been with his partner for three years.

'There are no differences between them and a heterosexual husband and wife,' Lin said. 'But my child can't get married, that's not fair.'

February 27, 2015

Other more sensitive videos by the country's top gay filmmaker are left alone

As an online video about coming out to parents racks up more than 100 million views in China, the state censorship board has removed all traces of a similar documentary from the internet.

The country's leading queer filmmaker, Fan Popo, said he was puzzled as why to his 'harmonious' 2012 film, Mama Rainbow, was deleted from all Chinese video sharing sites.

February 20, 2015

Concerned citizens report sounds of a struggle coming from a park restroom

Police last week were called to a park in China to break up a fight after concerned citizens reported sounds of a struggle coming from a public toilet.

But when officers arrived at the scene, they found a physical encounter of a very different kind and nearly arrested two men for having violent sex in one of the cubicles.

According to the Fuzhou Evening News, one of the men, surnamed Chen, was strolling in a park in Fujian province at night when a man in his 40s asked him if he wanted to try gay sex.

February 17, 2015

An estimated 30 million Chinese people are in the closet

A Valentine's Day ad campaign is urging the estimated 30 million closeted Chinese people to come out.

The ads, which appeared on social media Friday (13 February), show gay couples relaxing at home.

The text beside the photos reads: 'Love is not a choice. We did not choose to be homosexual. We just are. Happily, the world is big enough for all of us.'

David Li, one of the lead organizers of the China LGBT Awareness Campaign, said he hoped the ads would generate a public conversation about LGBTI issues in China and encourage people to come out.

February 15, 2015

Ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays next week, PFLAG China has launched a short film to promote family reunions between parents and their gay children

A touching short film, which tells the story of a young gay man who became estranged from his parents after coming out, and eventually being accepted by them years later, has gone viral with over 100 million views.

January 27, 2015

Lawyer says the case 'will definitely have an impact' on LGBTI rights

A Chinese court last week heard the first workplace discrimination lawsuit in the southern city of Shenzhen, a case that could have far-reaching implications.

The plaintiff said he was fired from the design company he worked for a week after he was outed as gay in a viral online video.

'We're very optimistic,' Liu Xiaohu, a lawyer for the plaintiff, told AFP, adding that the case 'will definitely have an impact' on views of LGBTI rights in China.

January 19, 2015

Report finds the women face 'amplified stigma' due to their gender and job

Transgender female sex workers are among the most marginalized and discriminated populations in China, according to a new report.

Based on 10 months of research by Asia Catalyst and two Chinese community-based organizations, Beijing Zuoyou Center and Shanghai CSW (commercial sex worker) and MSM (men who have sex with men) Center, the report found transgender sex workers experience 'amplified stigma' due to both their gender identity and their profession.

December 26, 2014

Hailed as a landmark victory for LGBTs in China, gay rights activists say they hope the court's decision will help put an end to the practice of 'gay conversion' therapy in the country

In the first case of its kind in China, Beijing's Haidian District People's Court last Friday ruled that the Xinyupiaoxiang Counseling Center in Chongqing had no medical basis to offer a cure for homosexuality.

It ordered the clinic to pay 3,500 yuan (US$560) to Yang Teng who took the case to court after he underwent hypnosis and electric shock treatment after being told by the clinic that it was a safe and effective cure for homosexuality. 

December 25, 2014

Alex Chow and Lester Shum say it is 'difficult' to say whether they are a couple

In the 79 days that protestors occupied various sites in Hong Kong, the semi-autonomous city in China saw many intense or even bloody moments.

But many people, especially the young, have rejoiced over the bromance between student leaders Alex Chow and Lester Shum, who head the Hong Kong Federation of Students, the key group behind the protests that ended only earlier this month.

In the first joint interview that they gave, host Stephen Chan, from radio station CRHK, eagerly asked the duo a question many had been hoping for - on air - 'Are you really a couple?'

December 24, 2014

Luka Magnotta admits to the killing but pleaded insanity

A Canadian former gay porn actor yesterday (December) was found guilty of murdering and dismembering a Chinese exchange student and sex partner he met online.

Luka Magnotta, 32, was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder in the 2012 slaying of Jun Lin, 33, after eight days of deliberations.

The conviction carries a mandatory life sentence, with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

Magnotta was also convicted on four related charges and given the maximum sentence for each, ranging from two to 10 years.

December 23, 2014

Fairy toy comes with a skirt, high heels, wings — and a penis

A fairy toy dubbed 'the world’s first transgender doll' has shocked parents in Argentina who are afraid it could 'influence' their children’s sexuality.

The discount Fashion Happy doll is made in China and comes with a skirt, high heels, decorative fairy wings — and a penis.

It is unknown whether the 'genitalia' is intentional or a factory defect.

Either way, the doll has shocked parents in Argentina after the mother of a three-year-old girl posted a picture of the toy on Facebook that went viral.

December 20, 2014

The respected sexologist and sociologist for the first time revealed details of her female-to-male transgender partner of 17 years in her blog

In what has been described as a surprise revelation and which has sparked a rare public discussion about China's largely overlooked transgender community, prominent LGBT rights activist and sexologist on Thursday revealed that she is in a long-term relationship with a transgender man.

December 8, 2014

New rules imply that any host city will have to prove they do not actively discriminate against gay people

The Olympics has taken a huge step forward in protecting gay rights.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved Proposal 14 of the Olympic Agenda 2020 to include non-discrimination with regard to sexual orientation in Principle 6 at a vote in Monaco today (8 December).

Principle 6 originally read: 'Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.'

December 5, 2014

Survey finds 21% of respondents know someone who is LGBTI

Four out of five people in China agree that LGBTI people should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities and 83% believe workplace cultures should welcome all regardless of sexual orientation, according to a survey released today.

YouGov, WorkForLGBT and Shanghai LGBT Professionals' first annual national research study on the LGBT social climate in China was conducted from 21 November 26 November with a qualified sample size of 2,400 respondents across tier 1 through tier 3 cities and across nationally representative profiles.

December 1, 2014

WHO issues a call to action after new data shows nearly half a million people in the country are living with HIV

The World Health Organization has issued a call to action to China after government figures revealed nearly half a million people were living with HIV and 25% of new cases were among gay men.

A total 497,000 people have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in China, with 154,000 deaths, since the country's first case in 1985, according to National Health and Family Planning Commission data released yesterday (30 November).

There were 87,000 new diagnoses on the mainland in the first 10 months of this year, more than 90% of which were sexually transmitted.

November 19, 2014

Tongzhi can mean 'comrade' or 'gay' in Chinese

The Chinese Communist Party has told its members to continue calling each other 'comrade' despite the word's second meaning - 'gay.'

The party ruled that more than half of its discipline regulations were 'outdated' and no longer applicable after a two-year review, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Among the 487 regulations to remain is a 49-year-old diktat that members call each other 'comrade,' the egalitarian form of address preferred by Communists.