Police Shut Down “Mr. Gay China”
The Associated Press reports that police shut down China’s first ever gay pageant, “Mr. Gay China” an hour before it was set to begin.
Event organizer Ben Zhang relayed the cause given by the police: “”They said the content, meaning homosexuality, there’s nothing wrong with that, but you did not do things according to procedures.” But the AP report states that “Chinese police frequently cite procedural reasons for closing down gatherings deemed politically sensitive, and authorities have harassed gays in the past.”
Eight men were due to compete with each one hoping to be picked to go forward the Worldwide Mr Gay pageant in Norway next month. The event was to include a fashion show, swimwear and talent competition, and a host in drag.
The organizers are considering having the judges select one contestant to send to the world competition.
Contestant Jay Jia gave Sky News his own account on the state of gay culture in Beijing:
When I left in 2002 you couldn’t even find a gay bar. That’s all changed now, at least in the big cities. But I still haven’t come out and I definitely haven’t told my employers or my workmates… My parents don’t know and they are always trying to find girls for me to take out.
Organizer Ryan Dutcher maintained an upbeat tone, telling Reuters, “The gay community here in the four years that I’ve been in Beijing — it’s a difference between night and day. It’s much better than it was before. I’m not saying things are going to get worse. Things are only going to get better.”
For more on the history and social issues concerning queer culture in China, check out the documentary Queer China, ‘Comrade China’ by Cui Zi’en.