This weekend saw the kick off of Shanghai’s first-ever gay pride celebration, a week-long event that, when all is said and done, will not include a gay pride staple: the parade. That’s because organizers (two Americans, actually) acted on legal advice against an actual March, which tends to get you into trouble in China.
Instead, attendees will be welcome to an art fair, movie screenings, and a closing party at a private venue, reports the BBC, which says this is the first time the city will have such an event.
Organizers’ reservations about making the event more visible (i.e. having a parade) confuses some, since same-sex sex hasn’t been a crime in over a decade. That, and couples getting (faux) married stirred up little controversy; in fact, some point to the idea of gays getting married being in line with traditional Chinese feelings about marriage.
But we can’t fault Tiffany Lemay and Hannah Miller for wanting to celebrate pride without angering the authorities, who could shut the whole thing down. (Interestingly, Miller says as Americans, they “can get away with more” than native Chinese would be able.)
To an extent, Shanhai’s festivities remind of us the approach in Singapore, where the Pink Dot event wasn’t billed as a pride parade, but instead a “gathering” of like-minded people hoping to bring awareness to the plight of gay folks. (There, sex between men is a crime.)
If you’re there, you know what to do: Send in those photos!