For the very first time, Chinese parents of LGBTQ singles attempted to join the infamous marriage market in Shanghai on Saturday, only to receive an unpleasant welcome from the crowd.
The parents, who were hoping to find potential mates for their gay or lesbian children, even brought rainbow-colored umbrellas in addition to the advertisements adorned with their offsprings’ photos.
However, several onlookers expressed hostility towards the group, branding their children as “abnormal” and asking condescending questions. When they began soliciting matches for their children, the local police also became involved and forced them out of the market.
The People’s Park in Shanghai has become internationally popular for its so-called “marriage market” where parents list advertisements for their children with the hopes of finding a marital spouse for them.
The group of parents who were berated and shooed out of the park were organized by two LGBT rights groups. Not only were they looking for potential matches for their children, they were also hoping to raise awareness of the difficulties that members of the LGBTQ community in China endure.
Aside from being told that their children were ‘abnormal’, they were also questioned about their children’s sexual activities. Local authorities later arrived, ordering the parents to leave the area for not having a permit to be there.
“They have really touched my heart. Parents coming out in public to defend and help their children,” a Weibo user commented on a video posted by one of the organizers, Rela.
“This is very heart-melting to me. While the majority of the public sees these mothers as lunatics, they are doing something brave for their daughters. Choices of sexual orientation are personal and why can’t we accept their choices,” another user explained.
“I hope people can treat gays and lesbians as normal. And I hope there is a day when my partner and I can hold hands in public,” added another.
The incident further highlights how lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders in China continue to face social and legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.
Currently, the Chinese constitution does not explicitly deal with any forms of discrimination pertaining to sexual orientation or gender identity, leaving members of the LGBT sector virtually unprotected from prejudice, intolerance, and harm. Even in the country’s existing Labour Law, workers are protected specifically against discrimination on the basis of a person’s ethnicity, gender or religion but not on sexual orientation or gender identity.