China was relatively late in openly acknowledging the basic civil rights of its homosexual population – it wasn’t until 1997 that the Communist government decriminalized “hooliganism,” as it was officially known. However, the acceptance of non-heterosexuals into a mainstream societal position has been complicated, although the resistance bears no resemblance to the religious-fueled homophobia that has become commonplace in the United States. Indeed, the film explains that same-sex unions are seen by many as a disruption of the yin-yang harmony within the Chinese mindframe and the disruption of the cohesive family unit that was stressed since Mao Zedong’s rise to power.
There is also the consideration by many of an unpleasant Western influence in pushing gay rights – or, at least, the Western version of the subject. Actually, the preferred word in China is not “gay” or “queer,” but “tongzhi” which means “comrade.”
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