The man believed to be China’s first openly gay athlete will head to the Paris Gay Games in August.
Xu Jingsen, or A Sam in English, is a professional surfer. He recently came out on the popular Chinese social media site, Weibo.
‘Hello everyone! I am A Sam. I will attend the global Gay Games in Paris, France, in August this year and serve as an ambassador,’ he wrote.
‘Coming out is the ultimate measure of our inner courage. Yes, I am gay.
‘We have the right to choose who to love and how to be loved. Gender, age, and skin color are not an embarrassment. We all live under the same sun.
‘Today, I bravely live my truth, and I regard it as the best gift bestowed upon me. If my courage can bring comfort to those who feel lonely and helpless, and encourage everyone to support equality, then everything I do will make more sense. Thank you friends!’
According to OutSports, A Sam seems to be the first and openly gay sports person in China.
Even though surfing is not a sport at the Gay Games, A Sam will reportedly compete in swimming and basketball this year.
The Gay Games, is a quadrennial sports and culture festival, with Hong Kong – a Chinese territory – hosting the 2022 games.
Not only is A Sam China’s first openly gay athlete, he is also the first Gay Games Ambassador from China.
‘The Gay Games Ambassadors are an international group of prominent individuals supporting the goals and principles of the Gay Games,’ the Gay Games said in a statement.
‘As our first Gay Games Ambassador from Asia, we are very pleased both for A Sam and for our organisation and movement.
‘This visibility of our having a professional Chinese athlete as a Gay Games Ambassador has the potential to positively impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of LGBT+ people in mainland China, the rest of Asia and across the world.’
Homosexuality is not illegal in China, but there are no anti-discrimination laws for the LGBTI community. Gay content is banned from television and online, with Weibo recently embroiled in controversy for blocking all homosexual content. It overturned the ban after a massive outcry, which many considered a huge win for the LGBTI community.