Noteworthy Weibo Moment: Qingdao Government Account Shows Support for LGBT Community
Just a day ahead of the 2019 International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (May 17), a Qingdao government social media account has attracted the attention of Chinese netizens for showing support to the gay community.
“In a world of equality, let all people turn away from homophobia” (“在平等世界里，让所有人不再恐同”), the post said, commenting on the recent trending news of a 15-year-old boy who came out as gay and posted a suicide note on his Weibo account.
“The incident shows us the difficulty and hopelessness homosexual people are suffering. The world should be equal and free, and as the International Day Against Homophobia (#517不再恐同日#) is nearing, let’s call on the people around us to express our love of equality and kindness,” the post said.
Within a day after it was published, the Qingdao Fabu post was shared over 30,000 times and received more than 23,000 likes.
A Weibo Suicide Note
The Weibo user referred to by the Qingdao local government account had posted a lengthy letter on the night of May 14. Using an anonymous Weibo account (@用户7138253812), the author, identifying himself as a 15-year-old boy from Qingdao, came out as gay and shared his pain and grievances over the pressure he faced.
Because the boy wrote he wanted to “leave this world forever” and ended his post with a farewell, many people became worried about the boy’s mental state and whereabouts.
Later that day, another post was published on the same anonymous account saying: “Thank you everyone, everything is fine.” The farewell note has since been deleted. See a full translation of the text below this article.
Qingdao Official Account Receives Praise
With its post supporting the young gay man and the LGBT community at large, the Qingdao Government official news account is receiving hundreds of comments praising them.
Besides their original post, the Qingdao government account also posted a total of nine different quotes relating to LGBT issues, including one from Taiwanese film director Ang Lee saying “There’s a Brokeback Mountain in everyone’s heart.”
Another one stresses the fact that homosexuality is not a mental illness, with yet another quote mentioning that the Netherlands became the first country in 2001 to legalize same-sex marriage.
As the Qingdao Weibo post is gaining more popularity on Weibo at time of writing, these are some of the popular comments below:
- “This is so awesome for an Official Weibo account!”
- “That an Official account would post this.. seeing this makes me tear up. I will always support equal rights.”
- “I’m crying, this was really sent out by an Official account.”
- “This must be the best Official account post I’ve ever seen on Weibo.”
- “Let’s give it up for Qingdao!”
- “This means progress!”
- “I’m not from Qingdao, but I will follow this account from now on. This [post] shows you have guts.”
- “I feel proud to be from Qingdao.”
- “I am so moved by your post. Thank you for your support. I hope your light will shine on all the people.”
Over the past few years, Chinese social media have seen many times when gay content was censored.
One important moment occurred in 2017, when the China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA, 中国网络视听节目服务协会) issued new criteria to strengthen regulations over online audio-visual content on Chinese platforms. One of the new regulations regarded the removal of online content that “displays homosexuality” (“展示同性恋等内容”), grouping homosexuality together with incest and sexual perversity as “abnormal sexual behavior.”
Although it is very noteworthy for an official government account to publish social media posts that strongly support the gay community, it is not the first time it has happened.
In July of 2017, the official account of the Communist Youth League of Fujian published a post that stated “Being gay is no disorder!” Many netizens at the time, like today, said the unexpected support moved them to tears.
Sometimes on Weibo, it’s the little posts about big matters that seem to matter the most – especially when they come from a government-run source.
Full Translation of Suicide Note
The suicide note in question has been deleted from Weibo, but The Beijing LGBT Center translated the text and posted it on its Facebook page.
Please note that the following translation is not a What’s on Weibo translation and that all credits for this translation go to the Beijing LGBT Center. Follow them on Facebook here:
“I am from Qingdao and am a 15-year-old student from Laoshan No.8 Secondary School.
I am a homosexual. I never expected I would be able to utter this word.
Growing up a frail and meek boy, I am that ‘fem’ everyone is referring to. An easy target, bullied, assaulted, teased, abused, and shunned by classmates and teachers alike. This is how I grew up, and so did many other gay children. Naive as I was, I did not fight back or told anyone about my feelings. I was afraid, and am still afraid of this world. I acted strangely and they called me lunatic, but I know that was my only way to protect myself. After I tried in vain to fit in, I chose to close myself from this world, and this is how I lived my childhood.
By sheer luck, I had a short childhood. I started to realize what’s ‘strange’ with me in grade 5 or 6. I remember how I exulted when I first read about affirmative answers about gay on Zhihu (Chinese version of Quora). But I was soon overwhelmed by those derogatory, abusive, and hurtful answers. I cried the whole night and yet I put my mask back on the very next morning. What people saw as maturity in me was in fact avoidance and isolation.
Things got a little better in secondary school because I am a top student. There was less bullying but I reminded that fem guy teased and mocked at by everyone. Among the worst was my class teacher, Chen Feng. For two years he inflicted me with corporal punishments. Listening to him indoctrinating his banal views was pure suffering. I’ve got enough of his so-called masculinity values, his genders have their fixed roles, his homosexuals are modern perverts. Yet he is not alone among his peers and colleagues. I have had enough of my teachers’ cursing, smearing, ridiculing, and insulting anything related to gays. All their rubbish made me sick and isolated.
Gradually I become irritable and violent. I came out to my mother rather abruptly. Though she seemed to have acquiesced it, I was giving in to the pressure and thinking about ending everything. I have no idea what happened to me and I know choosing death is not courageous, but rather an act of cowardice. I chose to avoid my family and I knew my indifference and avoidance hurt them, especially my mom, the one person who loves me the most.
My father is a weak and arrogant scum and inflicted my mother her whole life. He broke down my door when I was most vulnerable and isolated and banged my head on the wall. At that moment, I only wished he could kill me. But he was stopped by my sister.
Just now, my so-called “family” once again stormed my room and hurled their most insulting curses at me. I realized that my mom might be the only person who can accept me in this world. Or maybe she was just pretending too.
This is not the first time I’ve thought about dying to end it all. Just a few days ago, I scaled high trying to leave all these sufferings. When I called my mom to hear her voice one last time, I hesitated, climbed down and wandered for miles away from home.
Now I have once again escaped from home with that scum’s phone in my hand. Yes, this account is my father’s. I want to tell the world what I’ve always wanted to say and to do. And then leave this world forever.
I understand living on might be the better choice. I could have a bright future and watch this world getting more open and inclusive. But I have had enough. I am sorry to have vented everything on here, and I am sorry to be so weak my entire life. I wanted to do something for this world but in reality, I can do nothing. I know, China will not have its own Stonewall; its people can put up with anything. I am losing control of emotion…
I apologize for my cowardice. To be honest, I am not innocent. But even if I had the courage to change the world, a stab in the back could have easily killed me. I have chosen to solve the radical question with the radical way.
I love you all, the kind and beautiful people of conscience, I trust you to make the world better. If there were a heaven, I will send my blessings…I wish my story will be a faint voice to your fight.”
* Communist Youth League: “Being Gay is No Disorder!”
* Why the Gay Kisses in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Won’t Make It to Chinese Cinemas
* Weibo Administration: “We’re No Longer Targeting Gay Content”
* China’s Online Gay Revolution and Rainbow Warrior Geng Le
By Wendy Huang and Manya Koetse
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