There’s nothing like a marriage proposal between two men to liven up a dull train ride. Commuters on a crowded Beijing subway recently became spectators to a gay marriage proposal, as they watched a man get down on one knee in the crowded car and present his boyfriend with an engagement watch. The proposal was captured on video by many of the onlookers’ smartphones and has since gone viral in China on the social media network Weibo reports BBC News.
Reactions to the proposal from online commentators has been mostly positive despite a few shouts of “sin” and “disgusting” that can be heard in the background of the video. Weibo user Bai Yi Yan Vina’s comment on her uploaded clip of the romantic moment loosely translates as, “They do not care about the secular vision, they dare to break the old concept … As a spectator, I can only send sincere wishes.” Another online comment stated, “Those who say this is disgusting, you are not qualified to judge others.” Even the lonely straight gals are tossing in their two cents as one lamented, “I feel as though the whole world has become gay, and yet I’m still single.”
Unfortunately for the newly engaged couple, they won’t be able to get married in China since the country has not legalized same-sex marriage. However, unlike the United States, where the battles surrounding gay marriage revolve around the inability of intolerant bigots to separate church and state, China’s belief system about homosexuality is more of a cultural issue. Timothy Hildebrandt, an assistant professor at the London School of Economics who has studied China’s LGBT movement, told BBC News that while “some have never encountered a gay person and don’t know what homosexuality is, others are aware of homosexuality but don’t believe it exists in China.” Nevertheless, Hildebrandt noted there is increasing acceptance of gay people in urban areas.
Another problem in China’s acceptance of homosexuality lies in the country’s one-child policy. Although it has been relaxed in recent years, Chinese citizens can be fined for having more than one child, which increases pressure on only children who are gay.
Hildebrandt explained, “Parents will think that if their only child is gay, that will end their hopes for grandchildren. It’s family pressure which creates a disproportionate pressure on gays and lesbians.”
Watch the proposal below. While a timepiece might not seem as romantic as a diamond ring, perhaps they do things differently in China. Hopefully, it was an Apple Watch. Congrats to the happy couple!