Shanghai gay pride: the show goes on
Posted on June 13, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
A colourful show of drag queens dressed in Chinese opera costumes was one of the festivities that marked Shanghai’s gay pride on Saturday, the first in China where homosexuality remains largely hidden.
A “Big Bash” barbecue Saturday — billed as the highlight of the week-long festival — went ahead as planned in a bar despite previous last-minute event cancellations by local authorities that marred the “Shanghai Pride.”
Drag and fashion shows and a ‘hot body’ competition took place at Cotton’s bar attended by at least 500 people, in a garden that was hidden from view by a rainbow banner covering the surrounding fence.
Later Saturday night, two fake gay marriages were to take place before people were ferried onto buses to go to an afterparty at a bar on Shanghai’s famous Bund promenade.
“We would have liked the whole week to go without cancellations, but today everything has happened as we wanted it to, so we’re happy,” said Kenneth Tan, spokesman for organisers Shanghai LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender).
Events for “Shanghai Pride” have been organised at private venues without a public parade — in stark contrast to similar events elsewhere in the world — to avoid attracting unwanted official attention.
But still, city authorities forced the cancellation of a film screening and a play during the festival, and the two venues hosting the “Big Bash” events Saturday had received calls from officials, according to Tan.
He said police had come to Cotton’s Saturday where expatriates and Chinese people mingled but soon left.
Liu Yang, a 27-year-old Chinese homosexual who was enjoying the shows Saturday, said he was amazed by the festival.
“I’ve never been abroad, and I have really wondered how such an event could take place so smoothly — I’m really nicely surprised,” he said.
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