What does it mean to be gay in China? How does the Chinese countryside compare with the gayness of its cities? Is there a united gay movement?
From the personal to the political, countless stories are emerging from China’s urban and rural areas which illuminate the diversified life aspirations of Chinese homosexuals. This event explores some of those stories, with an exclusive preview screening of “The Siberian Butterfly”, a screening of the 2010 documentary “Comrades, you’ve worked hard!” and a talk with renowned queer activists Wei Xiaogang and Xu Bin who will elaborate on the varied layers of gay life in China.
DATE: April 16 (Monday)
VENUE: French Embassy, 60 Tianze Lu, Chaoyang District, 北京市朝阳区天泽路60号
RSVP: to firstname.lastname@example.org
ENTRANCE: free to members, 80 RMB on the door to non-members
ABOUT THE PANELISTS:
Wei Xiaogang is one of China’s leading gay activists, recognized both nationally and internationally as a queer filmmaker and a queer organizer. In 2007 he founded the LGBT webcast “Queer Comrades” (www.queercomrades.com) for which he has directed more than 50 webcast episodes and documentaries. To date, the Queer Comrades programs have accumulated over 20 million views worldwide.
In 2011, Wei Xiaogang became the head of the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute, an NGO which conducts education and provides a supportive platform for informational initiatives regarding issues of gender, sexuality and sexual health.
Xu Bin has been an LGBT rights activist in China since 1995. She was co-founder of the Lavender Phoenix and the Institute for Tongzhi Studies, both US based organizations in support of LGBT activism in China. In 2005 Bin Xu founded Common Language (www.tongyulala.org), a Beijing based LGBT rights organization with focus on lesbian, bisexual women and transgender people in China. In 2008 Bin Xu also co-founded Beijing LGBT Center and currently serves on its board of directors. Bin Xu has helped foster LGBT groups across China and succeeded in setting up Chinese Lala Alliance, a cross-regional joint effort to provide a sustainable framework for movement building in Chinese LBT communities.
ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARIES:
“Comrades, you’ve worked hard!” brings you the full story of the first ever Mr. Gay China Pageant. Billed as a celebration of gay confidence, the event was cancelled by the police just hours before it was supposed to start, causing a media storm inside China and abroad.
From the early preparations to the final blow-out, this documentary closely follows the organizers and participants of the Mr. Gay China Pageant as they overcome their fears to become gay stars and as they try to make sense of the event’s politically tinted shut-down.
Director: Wei Xiaogang
Production: Queer Comrades, China, 2010
Running Time: 20 minutes
“The Siberian Butterfly” is a documentary that explores issues of creativity and sexual identity in an intimate portrait of a Chinese folk artist. He learned the traditional Chinese art of paper-cutting from his grandmother in his birthplace of Shaanxi Province, China. But as a child of China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), his homosexuality was deeply repressed by social convention, and so he followed the path of most men of his generation, getting married and having children. Still, he found an outlet for his true identity through the themes in his artwork. In this richly woven exploration of the creative process, the artist`s inner world is revealed as he patiently carves out space for his true identity through his paper cuts. Now that his children are grown and he has moved to Beijing, he discovers who he really was all along, calling himself The Siberian Butterfly.
Director: Anna Sophie Loewenberg
Production: Queer Comrades, China, 2012
Running Time: 30 minutes