China’s largest dating and marriage website says roughly one out of every 20 university students in the country has had a lover of the same sex.
In an effective poll of 8894 respondents by Jiayuan.com, 5.57 percent admitted being in a gay love at least once, reports news portal Danlan.
A Google expert has also estimated the number of gay men in the United States at roughly 1 in 20.
This compares with 15.34 percent and 20.46 percent who told Jiayuan they have been caught in a love triangle and a secret love.
Since the first national survey of its kind in China did not allow a bisexual option, the proportion of gay men may be slightly over-estimated.
On the other hand, certain students may simply not have met their true love, in a country where many gays faced with a homophobic environment remain closeted. Nearly 10 percent of students said they have never been in any relationship.
In another survey of 3500 citizens by Shanghai Jiao Tong University released on Christmas Day, two out of three adults (68.5 percent) find homosexuality unacceptable, mainly because it is inconsistent with traditional Chinese values.
On a 5-point acceptance rating scale, 58 percent and 10.5 percent the those surveyed in 34 cities chose one and two, respectively.
About 18.3 percent gave a neutral grade of three, leaving only 13.2 percent who saw the issue in a positive light.
While China has witnessed a sea change in values over the past 30 years, traditional values still dictate social attitudes, the University concluded.
China legalized adult gay sex in 1997 and removed homosexuality from an official list of psychiatric diseases in 2001, but there is as yet no law to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.
Same-sex marriage or adoption by gay parents is also rarely discussed by officials.
Ah Qiang, head of PFLAG China in Guangzhou, told GSN that he finds the attitude survey reflective of the true situation, which has already greatly improved.
‘In reality, the general public in the country don’t understand homosexuality, since the proportion of publicly out gays is really low,’ he said.
‘Gay news from the media is predominantly negative, while schools also do not convey any gay-related messages,’ he added.
The best way forward for the gay movement is for high-profile gays and lesbians to come out, Ah Qiang believes.
In a year when big names such as Jodie Foster of the US, and Tom Daley and Mika of the UK came out, none of a comparable fame did so in China.
‘Public figures’ coming out of the closet is of great help to public understanding, but unluckily the gay movement in China is a grassroots one,’ Ah Qiang said.