Yīshíjì, the creator of a popular Bilibili cooking channel, came out in a suicide note that he included in a pre-scheduled video last week.
Many of Yīshíjì’s followers immediately alerted the Chinese video-sharing platform after his video “Thank You and Goodbye,” which has already received more than 3.3 million views, was posted on Thursday.
“I’m gay and it feels great to come out of the closet,” the video’s onscreen text says in Chinese. “Even if I’m straight, I wouldn’t get married and have children. My life and society has put me through so many misfortunes that I don’t want to bring another life to the world to have that experience.”
“Please don’t be sad. I’m just a passerby in your life,” he continued in his note. “I wish all of you a good rest of your life.”
Yīshíjì also wrote that he moved out of his family’s house in 2016, which has led some of his followers to believe that his sexuality was a factor.
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One Bilibili user said the content creator’s video resonated with him: “I can totally relate as a gay man. I don’t like socializing and I hate societal norms. I like cooking for myself but sometimes it’s also hard for me to find reasons to stay alive.”
After receiving messages from concerned fans, Bilibili reportedly posted an update in the video’s comments section, stating that they notified the authorities and were trying to communicate with Yīshíjì.
Some viewers noted that local coverage of Yīshíjì’s video either blurred out the part in his suicide note about his sexual identity or avoided mentioning it completely. Several social media users called this “unethical” and “disrespectful.”
Although homosexuality is not illegal in China, many members of the LGBTQ-plus community reportedly encounter discrimination and prejudice from both the government and the public. “He exchanged his life for a fleeting moment of showing his true self, but the mainstream media wiped out who he really was using only a block of pixelation,” a viral Weibo comment read.
Yīshíjì started posting videos in 2019. He showed himself cooking and eating alone in his home, which he described as “documenting solo meals.” Although his face and identity have never been revealed, Yīshíjì still managed to gain over 560,000 followers on Bilibili.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For a list of international suicide hotlines, click here.