Gay Chinese kids seek acceptance

October 31st, 2010 - 3:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Oct 31 (IANS) More and more people in China are now coming out of the closet and are asking their parents to accept their homosexual orientation.

About 200 people - gays and lesbians - along with their parents, gathered in a hotel in Beijing Saturday to call for family acceptance and support for gay people.

Out of privacy concern, parents at the gathering, however, asked to be identified only as their children’s parents - like Li Baba or father of Li, Yang Mama or mother of Yang.

Li Baba could not believe it when, a psychologist told him that his son is gay.

“At that time, I thought homosexuality is what hooligans do. My son was a nice boy, how could this be possible?” he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The psychologist referred him to a therapist to “treat his son’s homosexuality”. After the treatment, his son suffered prolonged depression, fits of agitation and other mental problems.

“Don’t try to fix your child’s homosexuality. It can’t be changed. Treatment only cause more problems,” said Li Baba. His wife wept in silence by his side, as the man told other parents of gays or lesbians the story.

A lesbian named Xiao Ying regrets that she came out of the closet too quickly at age 19. Her mother took her to doctors and kept a close watch on her so that she could not meet her lover.

Now, after nine years, her mother remains firm on the issue. “It only got worse when my mother converted from Buddhism to Christianity,” said Xiao.

“Live your life and I’ll live mine,” Xiao’s mother said when she tried to invite her to the parents’ gathering.

“I didn’t hope to win her support, because it would be unrealistic. I only wanted her to get to know about the community,” Xiao said.

Wu Youjian, 63, the organiser of the gathering, said she heard many tragedies on her hotline, which seeks to help families accept their gay children’s sexuality. She listens to their confusion, anger and regrets three nights a week.

Wu recalled the many suicides by people she had tried to help - a senior military officer who dared not seek a boyfriend or even talk about his sexuality and committed suicide during this year, a mother who did not know about her son’s sexuality until she read his will and a man who took his own life after hearing about the suicide of his boyfriend.

Yang Mama said she now cooks for her son’s boyfriend, washes the two men’s clothes and even helps to take care of the boyfriend’s paralysed father. But her support came only after three attempted suicides by Yang, who suffers from chronic depression.

“I’m not comfortable enough to express love in words. But I bought her a necklace,” Yang said, expressing gratitude to his mother for attending the gathering.

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