Chinese LGBT: “We really need a good movie to express ourselves”

Words: Yujia Yang | Subbing: Bella Dawe

Alex Zhang, who studies in London now, is one of Chinese LGBTQ group members. He said: “If we could film a distinguished movie to tell  our society we are who we are from nature, we love, we hate, and we are normal…Chinese LGBT group really need get attention.” 

He shared more his opinions about Chinese LGBT movies in our interview:

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In 2015, same-sex marriage became legal in all states of the United States. In 2017, Moonlight won the Academy Award for Best Picture, it can almost be said to is milestone of mankind’s progress. This undoubtedly symbolised the successful result of the persistent efforts of LGBT activist groups.

However, in China, the story is different. Although, according to China Daily, Chinese LGBT population has increased to roughly 70 millions, the society is still conservative and oppressive towards non-hetero groups. Ideology of Chinese people has not liberated from tradition yet. Interstingly, the Chinese government never seem to take a stance on LGBT issues. To be more specific, government’s standpoints could be briefly summarised  ‘no support’, ‘no prohibition’ and ‘no propaganda’. On the other hand, the government does not allow foreign LGBT movies to be introduced such as Carol (2015), Moonlight (2016) and The Danish Girl (2016).

However, there were several acclaimed Chinese LGBT films like Happy Together (Hong Kong, 1997) and Lan Yu (Mainland, 2001). But because of Chinese censorship (categorised homosexsual content as inappropriate sexual content), these movies could not be released in cinemas, which is demonstrative of a lack of correct and complete understanding in the Chinese film industry and society as a whole.

Some people say that we are living an absurd world – in the past, men had power to decide whether women should receive education or not, European white people ruled life and death of black slaves. Society has already righted some historical wrongs, however, heterosexuals still can define rights of those belonging to LGBT groups, allowing or forbidding them to love. But if all men are created equal, what is the difference between these groups?

No matter how it is, one point should be affirmed is the world gradually becoming more open, tolerant, and free. It is obvious that there are more and more films focusing on LGBT themes. The movies mainly discuss topics from self-discovery to self-affirmation, and value of love by showing the reality of same-sex relationships. In particular, during the last decade, a large number of LGBT individuals had chance to find love of their own because of existence of LGBT movies. And more importantly, it has helped them to fight for equal rights.

As Alex said, currently, Chinese relevant movies and TV series are too commercial and mostly do not focus on progression towards equal rights. But to some degree, it also benefits: more and more people are able to at least game some insight and comprehend the LGBT community. As for whether the ideology can be widely accepted and help to build equal rights of Chinese LGBT community, the movie industry still has a long way to go.

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