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Interestingly, the country with the largest gay population in the world is reported to cause about half the Gay Chinese to hide their sexual orientation at work, and to have either told no one or only a few most trusted piers about their gay social life. But a recent marriage proposal in the subway in Beijing garnered mass social media momentum which was generally enthusiastically supportive of the gesture. No gay bathhouse in China, but several gay bars exist in Beijing and Shanghai.
Gay China can not marry in their homeland though, because current legislation lacks a procedure for same sex union. Chinese couples have traveled to the U.S. to hitch. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage spawned a discourse about Gay Chinese there. But in China, the opinion divide is not based on religious precept as in the U.S. A more common challenge is traditional sentiment on family obligations related to the one child law. These pressures on only child Gay Chinese have led to unhappy marriages for millions of couples, with gay men married to so called "homowives." It is estimated that 80% of Gay Chinese men will marry a woman, compared with 15-20% in the U.S.
The earliest laws against Gay China date back to the Zheng He era between 1111-1118, and brought brutal punishment in addition to steep fines. Explicit prohibitions with harsh punishment followed in the Mao Era from 1949-1976. But homo/heterosexual behavior was common in ancient Chinese history, which records the last emperors overlapping chronologically with known homo/bisexual Roman emperors. The earliest records of Gay Chinese appear to be 676 B.C.E. It is assumed lesbian relationships also existed but went undocumented because of the lack of emphasis on female roles in the culture.
Some reversal of these abuses came in 1979 when a "hooligan law" was abolished and considered to be a decriminalization of gay expression in the People's Republic of China. In 2001, the Chinese Society of Psychiatry declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. Currently the general public dialogue on Gay China is considered disinterested. But there is increasing acceptance in urban ares. In 2001, gay film Lan Yu was made in China. And 2009 saw the first Gay Pride event in Shanghai. This festival attracted 3,000 supporters from China and other countries. After that several gay apps was created for gay Chinese communities.
With 3-5% of China's population LGBT, popular acceptance seems inevitable. Survey statistics about Gay Chinese suggest that with the maturing of the coming generations, the gay movement will gain power, as 60% of gay males are between 23-28 years old, with 88% having at least a college degree. China's gay community is worth an estimated $3 billion in consumer activity so this will undoubtedly afford Gay China more weighted consideration in society. And the wives of the many pressured gay men have become an unlikely force in China's gay rights movement.
So the outlook for sexual liberation for Gay Chinese appears promising. Awareness and acknowledgement are revealing this orientation to be common and natural, with a substantial population density. And Gay China can afford to be optimistic about their freedom.