TJ is a writer living in Portland, OR.

"James"

"James"

I recently finished an interview with a gay man named 'James' here in Xi'an, he's a student and in the military. It was published on PQ Monthly in a series of five blogs post:

Part 1

To some extent parents live for their children so when children grow up they need to live for their parents; every choice children make, they have to think about how their decisions will have an effect on their parents’ lives. Because gay life just opened in these last few years, the last generation, like my parents, they almost know nothing about gay life. They cannot understand what gay life is in China. So the young people don’t know how to explain these things to their parents.
My mom knows. It’s hard on her. I told her three years ago; after that she is always telling me to find a girlfriend. My field is medicine. Everyone in this area needs to get a post-doc, so it will be a long time before I talk about a family or marriage, so she doesn’t push me too hard. But maybe in four or five years she’ll start to push that.
Every year in Beijing we have a big meeting (the National People’s Congress) about the country’s laws; some delegates at that meeting advocate for gay rights, but the progress has been very slow.
There are some gay bars here, but I’ve never been to one in China. I’ve been to a gay bar in Chicago actually. Gay bars there are the same as here; I mean Beijing or Shanghai. In gay bars in Western China the atmosphere is very different, cold. People go to there for sex, so they don’t want to chat with you.
You have to think and behave like a solider everywhere, every time. Education in our country always tells you not to do things; you need to behave yourself. If you do something wrong no one will help you. This is what we learn. So we are more discreet with what we do and say. I think in the West if someone does something that’s not illegal, no one can do anything to you. Here, how you behave in your daily life has a big effect on your career; rumors have power in our culture.
Red Army


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