Woman’s poignant proposal to girlfriend ruined by homophobic backlash
The couple say their proposal is “proof of love”.
A woman who publicly proposed to her girlfriend has spoken out about being threatened with disciplinary action by her university.
Huang Yang asked Wang Xiaoyu to marry her following a graduation ceremony at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in China.
As well as celebrating their love, the pair say they were protesting against the country’s strict rules regarding same-sex marriage.
Following the proposal, onlookers cheered and filmed the couple as they shared a kiss, and the proposal was quickly covered by an LGBT group online.
“The proposal is proof of love,” Xiaoyu told BBC News.
“And also this action could make people aware that there are sexual minorities on the campus as well.
“Last year, the university held a group wedding ceremony for 50 graduates and celebrated their love,” she added.
“But same-sex love was treated differently.”
However, the move soon backfired, after the university became aware of the video.
Officials demanded the video be removed from social media, before Xiaoyu was pulled in for questioning by the university’s party secretary.
She also says they searched her room, withheld her diploma and contacted her parents.
The incident has divided public opinion on Chinese social media, with some criticising the pair and other’s voicing their support.
“I was very angry and felt sympathy for them,” said Xiao Qi, a trans activist who sent a petition to the university supporting the couple.
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“I hope the university would allow sexual diversity and not interfere.”
“We want to get married but this incident still has an impact on both of us and on our families as well,” Xiaoyu added.
Homosexuality was removed from China’s official list of mental disorders in 2001 but remains a taboo subject.
Watch a video of the proposal below: