China’s Gays and Lesbians Join the Global Debate on Same-Sex Marriage
In a country where homosexuality was illegal until just 16 years ago and classed as a mental illness until 2001, advocates for gay rights in China complain that attitudes toward their community are years behind those in Western countries. But like their counterparts everywhere, Chinese gays and lesbians are fired up by the growing global debate on same-sex marriage.
In late February, Beijing residents Ma Yuyu and her partner Elsie went to the Civil Affairs Bureau in the city’s Dongcheng district to try to register as a married couple. They had contacted local media ahead of their visit and a gaggle of journalists accompanied them. To no one’s surprise, their application was flatly rejected. “We knew we would fail, but we still wanted to do it anyway,” Ma tells TIME. The rejection of their marriage bid made headlines across the country.
With advocates like Ma pushing the envelope, the…
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