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Peter lived for nearly a half-decade in China, including two as a Peace Corps volunteer, and is the author of Socrates in Sichuan: Chinese Students Search for Truth, Justice and the (Chinese) Way. It is the intention of his blog to foster the sort of intercultural understanding necessary for long term relationships.
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Happy Valentine's Gay(s and Lesbians)    

By Peter V
2909 Views | 2 Comments | 8/12/2010 9:47:53 PM
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Like everyone in the CLM community, I received the Chinese Valentine’s Day e-mail and video and immediately began to plot out how to put it to good use. My deliberations, however, were interrupted by a news story. A U.S. federal judge had just overturned California’s law outlawing gay marriage. Although this might sound like good news for the gay and lesbian community, if you know anything about U.S. politics, you would know the announcement of this decision would likely result an outbreak of conservative Republicans and religious fundamentalists favorite sport: gay bashing. Indeed, I could already hear the familiar forecasts of the end of civilization and the warnings about the upcoming deluge of marriages with barnyard animals that would result from the judge’s ruling.

What, you might well ask, does any of this have to do with an internet dating site devoted to bringing together foreign men and Chinese women? As an old school liberal, I’ve always held that so long as one person is oppressed no one is truly free. With that in mind, consider the fact that, depending upon whom you believe, anywhere between three and ten percent of any significant population chunk is homosexual. Most people who study this agree that this is not as a result of a conscious choice—say, walking outside during recess one afternoon when you are six years old and deciding you like boys. Instead, gays and lesbians report finding themselves attracted to members of the same sex the way heterosexuals are spontaneously drawn to members of the opposite sex. What this means is that in most countries on earth a by-no-means-insignificant chunk of the population will have some restriction placed upon their ability to fulfill perhaps the most fundamental desire in human nature because of a fact about themselves they are helpless to change. Although you and I may fail to achieve our romantic ideals (well, at least me), we have no societal or legal impediments to pursuing these. The same, sadly, cannot be said for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in most of the world.

I’ve already mentioned the situation in the U.S. What about China? In a society where family is of such fundamental importance and carrying on the family name a moral imperative, you might imagine gays and lesbians are naturally viewed as a threat to the social order. There is an occasional crusading figure. Described by some as China’s first sexologist, Li Yinhe has long fought for greater sexual freedom in China. For each of the last three years she has submitted a proposal calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage to the annual session of the country's top political advisory body, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). It has about as much a chance of passing as does a resolution declaring a national “I love Japan” day.

Perhaps there is some hope with the younger generation. When I taught in China, I would give my undergraduates a survey in order to see how their attitudes on subjects of social relevance compared to American views. One of the things that surprised me the most was their opinions on gay marriage. In class after class, close to two-thirds of my students expressed approval for some sort of legal recognition for gay unions. In support of their view, many sited the movie “Brokeback Mountain” (or as they called it, “Brokenback Mountain”).

And in America, it seems reaction to the federal judge’s decision has been surprisingly muted as Republicans, who have traditionally used gay marriage as a “wedge issue” to rally their conservative base, have kept quiet on the decision in order to avoid alienating the independent voters who will probably decide the next election.

Still, there is a long way to go before gays and lesbians will possess the same freedom and societal acceptance to express their love as heterosexuals. So on this Valentine’s Day, I urge those on this internet dating site to keep those less romantically fortunate in your thoughts.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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(Showing 1 to 2 of 2) 1
#2010-08-12 22:01:48 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

This all leads to one big question in my mind, what did you do with the video? :-).

#2010-08-14 07:00:06 by woaizhongguo @woaizhongguo

If you can get around th GFW you can see it on my facebook page, among other places

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