Beijing LGBT center is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that relies on volunteer support to organize various activities and events for Beijing’s LGBTQ community.
Beijing LGBT center mission is to empower China’s LGBT community to live rewarding lives unconstrained by sexuality, gender, or other identities. The center offers support with a professional counselor team and services in individual consulting, group consulting, peer support, and workshops and activities on psychology. Since 2012, the center started building a national LGBT-friendly counselor network.
Interview by Dominique Musorrafiti
This is a selected interview from
Planet China Vol. 05 issue
China-underground: What is the priority of your Center’s agenda?
BLC: Psychological counseling service and a transgender anti-discrimination program would take priority among other work assignments in the center. In China, the LGBT group usually faces challenges in self-identification, coming-out, intimate relationships, and so on. In the meanwhile, these challenges increase the risk of falling into depression 3-4 times than the non-LGBT group.
The center provides psychological counseling service services to the LGBT group weekly to support and help them. Since last year, we also begin to advocate for transgender anti-discrimination after the Department of Transgenders set up. By comparing to other groups of LGBT, the status quo of transgender is the worst while they also have to face many more challenges than other groups of LGBT.
According to the “2017 Chinese Transgender Population General Survey Report”, which is presented by Beijing LGBT Centre, Peking University and Embassy of Netherlands in China, shows that there are almost 90% of Chinese families cannot accept transgender, while approximately 48.5% of the transgender female is completely refused to be looked after by their parents or guardians.
Chinese citizens, no matter what their sexual preference or gender identity, all deserve to enjoy equal rights
What are the main difficulties and problems that your Center has faced?
The major problem we are facing is that we cannot be registered under the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China, and this leads that it would be difficult to keep running the central office as lacking funds.
Is “coming out” nowadays still a problem in China?
I would say “Yes”. According to the report Being LGBT in China launched by UNDP, Peking University, and Beijing LGBT Centre, only 5% of LGBT would like to come out to their families. Hence we could say that many of Chinese LGBT are placed under the pressure from families and societies.
Are there particular challenges for the LGBTQ community in China?
LGBT groups aren’t accepted by society, while it is stigmatized and discriminated.
What are the biggest changes in China in recent years towards the LGBTQ community?
We still find out that many changes are going on there. One of them is that the level of acceptance among young people is increasing, and there is an active discussion of LGBT groups and other related topics going on social media.
How do you reach people who don’t advocate for themselves?
It would be difficult to influence these people to change their values. I do think that the center and other similar organizations could be regarded as perfect existences to encourage LGBT groups by working with them. Simultaneously, we also give the group voice by collaborating with media and releasing reports.
The center promotes the rights movement, eliminate discrimination and achieve equality; to promote diversity and the development of civil society
Do exist in China LGBTQ friendly job employers?
Yes. Some of the foreign ventures work with us to have the Sharing Talk and advocate for the gender diversity of the ventures.
Which is the most useful advice you would like to give to an LGBTQ person at present time?
It is easier to brace yourself and accept who you are.
Since we are in the social media era, do you have any advice for people who may be getting cyberbullied?
If your privacy is violated, I would suggest that you need help from lawyers. This is what I know now, I’m sorry about that.
Photos courtesy of Beijing LGBT Center