Sun Wenjing, a retired volleyball player from China, has recently come out as a lesbian on Weibo despite the government’s public efforts to crack down on LGBTQ+ groups online.
Coming out: Sun, 27, shared the announcement on Sept. 9 along with two pictures of her and her girlfriend standing in front of a red backdrop, an officially recognized style used on marriage certificates in China, according to SupChina.
- Sun wrote in Chinese, “She doesn’t have to do anything, but I will fall for her time and time again. Year after year, she’s my everything.” The post has received over 13,000 reposts and more than 60,000 likes.
- Sun posted the photo on the day that many Chinese people regard as a symbol of eternity, South China Morning Post reported. Sept. 9, or 9-9 (九九 jiǔ jiǔ), is also one of the most popular dates Chinese couples choose to register their marriage.
- Many people reportedly supported Sun’s post online, with one user writing on Weibo in Chinese, “The more people, especially public figures, come out of the closet, the less likely that Chinese society still sees LGBT+ issues as taboo topics.”
- “You are brave. I don’t know when I and my lover can act like you and your girlfriend in public, by not hiding our sex orientation at all,” another user commented.
- Born in 1994, Sun became a famous volleyball player after winning a national competition while playing for a youth volleyball team in Shandong, China in 2013. Coaches reportedly screened the player for the national team but she failed to make the official volleyball player list. Sun announced her retirement in 2019 on Weibo.
Crackdown effort: The Chinese government has been working hard to crack down LGBTQ groups online, with the most recent event making headlines globally in July.
- Many people expressed outrage after the Chinese government swiftly took down dozens of WeChat groups run by LGBTQ+ university students on July 6, The Guardian reported. The groups, which had operated for years, were considered safe havens for many of China’s LGBTQ+ youths.
- Sun’s recent announcement was also somewhat affected by the strict LGBTQ+ crackdown online. Ifeng, a media outlet in the mainland, was hit by Chinese censorship after reporting the former volleyball star’s coming out on Monday. Other publications’ reports were also reportedly taken down the following day.
- People who support the Chinese government’s effort also expressed negative reactions to Sun’s post online. One user wrote, “Although I respect your choice, it is not correct guidance for juveniles. Please don’t publicize this as something worthy of pride.”