Campus homosexual club in spotlight

Updated: 2006-11-16 19:26

BEIJING -- Homosexuality, often a taboo subject in China, has been in the headlines since a homosexual student group became a registered club at one of the country's prestigious universities.

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The "Rainbow Group", which includes both homosexuals and heterosexuals, was named after the "Rainbow Flag", a symbol of the campaign for equal rights for homosexuals.

The group will study homosexuality and oppose sexual discrimination, according to Ai Xiaoming, the group tutor.

The group obtained registration permission from Zhongshan University in the country's southern Guangdong Province and became the first of its kind in the country.

Controversial sexologist Li Yinhe hailed it as "a landmark event" and "historical progress" on her blog.

"It's wonderful to see the Rainbow Group set up because it shows that a state university in China has given way to students with different sex orientation and is willing to hear their voice, " said professor Ai Xiaoming.

However, some students' parents are worried as they consider homosexuality a disgrace to their family.

"One boy's mother attempted to commit suicide when she discovered her 24-year-old son was gay," said Li Yinhe.

"If anyone in my daughter's university dares to give a lecture advocating new types of sexual relations and attacking traditional family values, I will sue the university," said Xue Yong, parent of a university student.

"I believe parents are just as worried about homosexuality as they are about sexual liberation," Xue continued.

In fact, homosexuality is no stranger to college students in China and nearly all big universities in China have homosexual forums on their websites.

In 2003, Peking University held the First Beijing Homosexual Film Festival. In 2005, Fudan University opened an optional course for undergraduates on homosexual research.

According to Li Yinhe's recent survey, 91 percent of Chinese respect homosexuals' choice of lifestyle, more than 80 percent hold that homosexuals deserve equal job opportunities and more than 60 percent do not object to having homosexual friends. The survey polled over 400 people in large and medium-sized cities in China.

Most people "accept homosexuals but hope they can change and become 'normal'", said the survey.

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