May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The occasion aims to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally. The date was chosen to commemorate the removal of homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 17th, 1990.
The Day is celebrated in more than 130 countries. In China, various activities are taking place to mark the occasion, both online and in real life. Many Wechat accounts, such as LGBTRights, sichina and Onewaystreet2003, published articles to introduce the Day and the situation of LGBT people in China. Lady.163.com is broadcasting domestic and international activities to mark the day. In Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, a huge rainbow flag is being displayed on campus. In Shenzhen, a group of lesbian workers are posting flyers to raise concern about sexual assaults against lesbian workers in their working environments. A “rainbow run” will be held in Beijing, organized by the LGBT Community Service Center.
A gay couple, Wenlin Sun and Mingliang Hu, who were the first to sue the local Bureau of Civil Affairs (民政局) for not allowing their marriage, have chosen this day to host their unofficial wedding in Changsha, Hunan. Their case was rejected last month. Sun has begun to set up a gay organization, and claims that he plans to hold 100 weddings for gay couples.
Le Geng, the CEO of the earliest Chinese gay forum Danlan.org, believes that the LGBT population in China has exceeded 70 million. A survey conducted by WorkForLGBT reveals that the average monthly salary of the 18 thousand LGBT participants is 10,298 yuan, four times higher than the national average. Despite their strong purchasing power, LGBT groups in China are still suffering great pressure from society and their families, due to the traditional gender culture. Gay marriage is still not supported by national law. According to Ifeng.com, many gay people in China are forced to accept heterosexual marriages.