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China 'gay conversion': Accounts of shocks and pills

So I told only a trusted few. Years later, still in my home town of Lanzhou in central China, I plucked up the courage to tell my parents.

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It went badly. I remember the night all too vividly: And yet, even after I had been with Li for three years, even though my parents knew I was gay, even though I now lived far away from them, they were pressuring me to marry a woman. Desperate to please them, I went back online. This time I was looking for a lesbian for a "marriage of convenience". There was conflict with my "wife" over money. The pretence made life difficult for both Li and me.

My parents were asking awkward questions, like why were there men's undies but no bras in my room. A year later it imploded.

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The lesbian I had married broke up with her girlfriend and also decided to end our marriage. Thankfully, we got divorced. We learned we had another choice if we were gay in this world — to come out of the closet. We decided to tell Li's mother. For ages she had regarded me as the "best and most reliable friend". She even once said that if Li had a sister, she would marry her to me.

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  5. I was pleased she liked me, but I had never dared to tell her the truth. Li and I persisted.

    We talked to her whenever we got a chance. Slowly, she began opening herself to us.

    It’s Still (Just About) OK to Be Gay in China

    One day we got her to go along to a Pflag China gathering where she could meet other parents of gay children. Finally, it dawned on her that we could not change our sexual orientation. Eventually, another big step: Li's mum decided to move from Sichuan to Shanghai and live with us. As for my parents, they sit on the fence. They neither object to Li and me, nor do they support us. For now, I'm happy not to confront them. Maybe when we want to have a kid in the future, I will try to have a long talk with them. In , after Li and I had been together 11 years, Pflag China joined with two websites to take selected gay couples to get legally married in the United States.

    Among the stories of gay couples, ours stood out, according to the judges. We were on our way to the USA. All dressed up, Li and I waited impatiently to make our entrance to the ceremony. Even from outside we could hear applause and the clatter of cameras snapping photos. The door opened. We held hands and walked in. I could tell Li was very nervous — his palm was sweaty. After saying the oath, I took out the ring I had bought secretly in China.

    I placed it on Li's finger. All the sweet feelings and mixed emotions came out.

    Seeking a 'marriage of convenience'

    Xiao Cao, right , embraces his partner at an empty family residence. Cao, who is an unemployed drag queen, is one whose life lifts the curtain on a less romanticised view of Chinese homosexuals. Xiao Cao shaves as he sits next to his partner in his eight-square-metre apartment behind a public toilet. Before setting out to document this story, I had a somewhat stereotypical image of gay Chinese — that they lived colorful and comfortable lives, with prominent members often active in the fashion and entertainment industries, that they wore exquisite clothes and were in top physical shape.

    I imagined two men sitting in a bar smoking cigars and drinking wine, possibly discussing fashion trends or gossiping about showbiz stars. But working on this story for more than three months changed my view. In China, when seeking same-sex companionship, one way is to spend 20 yuan 3 U.

    It took some time to find the main character of my story. At first, I was taken to a dance club in Shanghai where gay people meet each other. This club attracted mainly elderly gay men, and I was told that the oldest member was more than 90 years old. I saw very few younger people.

    It was here that I met Xiao Cao, a middle-aged man dressed casually, his face much brighter than his neck I found out later that this was because he is fond of wearing makeup. He was single, unemployed, and his main pastime was to dress as a woman and dance in a park. Xiao Cao told me that he realized he was gay when he was around 15 years old, in junior high school. In those days he said he also had sex with women, but soon found it to be boring.

    10 great gay films from east and south-east Asia | BFI

    This is one of the coolest gay films ever made, a vivid and exhilarating depiction of two men from Hong Kong — Lai Tony Leung and Ho Leslie Cheung — in an intense on-again-off-again relationship, who travel to Argentina to visit Iguazu Falls, but end up repeating the cycle of infidelity and cruelty. After yet another break-up, Lai meets the handsome and possibly gay Chang, whose friendship jolts Lai into facing up to his responsibilities, and offers a chance of happiness and redemption.

    Happy Together , which won him the best director award at Cannes, is one of his best, with a terrific central performance from Leung as a young, insecure man yearning for romance. As so often with Wong Kar-wai, the last shot, accompanied by a brassy cover of the title song, is unforgettable. Gohatto In 19th-century Japan, a young and beautiful swordsman Ryuhei Matsuda joins a group of samurai. Although homosexuality is forbidden, he immediately arouses the attention of his fellow warriors, including the stern vice-commander Takeshi Kitano.

    Sexual jealousy inevitably rears its head, and violence ensues. Unorthodox erotic obsession permeates the best-known works of Nagisa Oshima , notably the ultra-controversial Ai no corrida , with its graphic scenes of unsimulated sex, and the homoerotic atmosphere of the prison camp in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence The last scene, set by a lake, is incredibly beautiful. Tokyo Godfathers Either way, Hana is a fantastic character, who dreams of bringing up a baby and shows the most kindness of the threesome.

    The bond between the three is seemingly unbreakable, and together they form the tightest of units, reinventing the concept of family. A queer fairytale. Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Tropical Malady Homosexual themes suffuse much of his work Weerasethakul is gay himself , manifesting as out and out camp in the outrageous The Adventure of Iron Pussy But best of all is Tropical Malady , one of the most mesmerising and surreal gay love stories ever told. A soldier and a country boy fall for each other and pay regular visits to the Thai jungle.

    So far, so unremarkable. Then one of the men is spirited away and the narrative whirls into a different world. The soldier appears to be on the trail of an apparently shape-shifting entity which may or may not be his departed lover.

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    The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros Young Maximo, whose family make their living through petty thievery, lives in a poor area of Manila. Nathan Lopez gives a wonderfully guileless performance as Maximo, who grows from the dizzy kid dressing up as Miss World at the start of the film to the mature adolescent who walks off to a brave new future at the end, in a knowing nod to The Third Man In his first feature made in Malaysia his previous work was filmed in Taiwan , Ming-liang regular Lee Kang-sheng stars in two roles — as a comatose man cared for by a woman, and as a migrant worker in Kuala Lumpur who is beaten up and cared for by a gay Bangladeshi man.

    The latter falls for his patient, despite their different languages. Soundless Wind Chime In this globe-trotting semi-autobiographical debut feature from Kit Hung, Ricky, a delivery boy working in Hong Kong, falls in love with petty thief Pascal Bernhard Bulling , who pinches his wallet. The two start a passionate relationship, but tragedy strikes. They, too, begin a relationship. The non-linear narrative can be tricky to follow, and the film demands more than one viewing to tease out its mysteries.