A Step Forward in China

Carys Law ‘21

Currently, same-sex marriage is not viewed as legitimate by the government in China, but the acknowledgment of petitions regarding LGBTQ rights is a huge step forward for those seeking for their love to be finally recognized.  There is a large online support worldwide for the cause, and many couples are hopeful for progressive legislation in the future.


Since the People’s Republic of China’s establishment into the Chinese government in 1949, homosexuality was oppressed and the LGBTQ community was largely hidden.  The open-door policy of the 1980s fostered social evolution, which has given rise to more awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ rights. Until 1997, homosexuality was considered a crime, and in 2001, it was removed from an official list which had listed it as a mental disorder.  


Recently, the National People’s Congress, the highest law-making institution in China, has finally acknowledged petitions to legalize same-sex marriage.  Such action is momentous given the extent of censorship in years past. Many of the international films that make it onto China’s theaters are altered or cut to remove any homosexual connotations or encounters.  But, recently, the first gay kiss in the newest Star Wars movie, “Star Wars: The Rise of Walker,” passed censorship and made its way to the big screens. Additionally, a viral advert featuring a same-sex couple was aired in China.  These are just small but significant shifts accompanying the growing acceptance of the LGBTQ community.


Just these things show how much progress has been made recently in accepting the LGBTQ community in China, and for these reasons, many hope that legislative action will be taken in the future.  Currently, the Chinese Government does not recognize same-sex marriage as legitimate; They have, however, acknowledged petitions regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage– a remarkably progressive action which has prompted the support of millions.  People all over the world have since taken to the internet to voice their support for LGBTQ rights.  


Many people don’t feel as if there will be immediate action on the side of the Chinese government, as acceptance of the LGBTQ community has already been a long and hard path.  Peng Yanzi, the director of LGBT Rights Advocacy China, expressed hope for the future. He has seen tremendous support in the young people of Asia and believes with time and a more open-minded generation, change can be achieved.


Everything starts small, and this movement has just gotten their feet off of the ground.  With the outpouring of support and those looking for their love to finally be acknowledged, it is sure that same-sex marriage rights will only be going forward.  


[1] https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/why-china-raising-prospect-same-sex-marriage-n1109471

[2] https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3040095/chinas-lgbt-community-push-legalise-same-sex-marriage 

[3] https://www.inkstonenews.com/society/rare-alibaba-shopping-advert-featuring-gay-couple-goes-viral-china/article/3045502