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Fabian Weiß | Lala Life Beijing

[B]eing lesbian or bisexual still signifies harsh living conditions in modern China. Since 1997 it is not longer illegal to be homosexual and in 2001 homosexuality has even been removed from the Ministry of Health’s list of mental illnesses. But despite all loosened restrictions and the increasing influence of more open Western values, homosexual life in China still remains mostly hidden, even in big cities like Beijing. Lesbians and bisexuals have still less publicity and possibilities to meet than gays. To make things worse, expectations on marriage towards a generation of single descendants are now stronger than ever. But there are also more ways to meet and connect each other like never before.

Homosexual online platforms are mushrooming and new conceptions of living are invented in no time. To circumvent the pressure of getting married, fake marriages are celebrated between lesbians and gays and provide certain freedom. On account of the sky-rocketed housing prices in the bigger cities, women living together are more and more tolerated and seen as a common household in order to save money. But the downside is obvious: with this pretence at concealment there will be no change of mind in the near future and living such a lie of omission is for most of the affected not pleasing at all. Especially older lesbians are struggling as they don’t have any family left which normally takes care of the elders in China. Xiao wants to open a habitat for old lesbians in the future. She also hopes that the situation is evolving for good. “The first thing to change is the attitude of the authorities and the media. I’m hoping for the 90s generation and that their parents can understand better the situation we are in. Especially in the bigger cities.”

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