The Sensitive Issue of Sexual Orientation
By Li YinheEditor: Frank Zhao
The year 2014 could be transformative for China's reform, as some analysts say, but it may not be so for those seeking more rights for homosexual groups and legalization of same-sex marriage.
|The year 2014 could be transformative for China's reform, as some analysts say, but it may not be so for those seeking more rights for homosexual groups and legalization of same-sex marriage. [2500sz.com]
Before the annual sessions of the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference started, a gay student from a university in Guangzhou sent letters to more than 3,000 NPC deputies and CPPCC members, urging them to submit proposals at the two sessions for legalizing same-sex marriage. He is not the first to do so and definitely will not be the last.
With people becoming more tolerant toward homosexuality, gays and lesbians have become more visible nowadays. But homosexuality is still to receive due consideration within the legislative circle, and by maintaining silence on the issue, the authorities seem to neither encourage nor discourage same-sex marriage.
Silence is not the solution to the problem. General studies on the subject suggest that 3-5 percent of the population of a country, regardless of its social and cultural contexts, are homosexuals. Since the total population of China is about 1.35 billion, some experts estimate that between 40.5 million and 67.5 million people in China fall in this category. This means more than 100 million people in China may be living with homosexuals with or without knowing it. And members of many of such families expect the national marriage law to be amended and same-sex marriage to be legalized. After all, Chinese citizens, regardless of their sexual orientations, should be able to enjoy equal rights.
In many countries gays and lesbians are considered a "minority group", and some countries have issued laws to end discrimination against them. The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage 13 years ago. It has been followed by more than a dozen countries, including Belgium and Canada, and recently France and New Zealand. Many sub-national jurisdictions such as the states of New York and Massachusetts in the United States have recognized gay marriage or "same-sex partnership". As a country dedicated to improving human rights, China should also take measures to protect the rights of this "minority group".
Some Western countries, especially those with Catholic majority, have encountered enormous resistance in legalizing same-sex marriage thanks to religious pressure. Such resistance, however, have been met with protests, sometimes violent, by homosexual groups.
Although traditional Chinese culture defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, Chinese society has been more tolerant of homosexuals than most others. This is an advantage China can use to facilitate social and legal recognition for same-sex marriage while boosting its image as a progressive and inclusive country.
(Source: China Daily)
Please understand that womenofchina.cn,a non-profit, information-communication website, cannot reach every writer before using articles and images. For copyright issues, please contact us by emailing: email@example.com. The articles published and opinions expressed on this website represent the opinions of writers and are not necessarily shared by womenofchina.cn.