While the Chinese government maintains a “Three No’s” policy towards homosexuality – no approval, no disapproval, and no promotion – the city of Shanghai has proven to be one of the most LGBT friendly cities of mainland China. Community groups, mainly internet- based, continue to develop as well as numerous clubs and businesses that usher to the queer Shanghainese community.
- There is no legal protection of LGBT individuals. LGBT discrimination, however is not a rampant occurrence; it is in fact very rare.
- It is not uncommon to see male friends holding hands, as it is an accepted part of the culture. The opinion of men doing this can change if they identify as homosexual.
- Shanghai LGBT is a yahoo.com group that has achieved prominence in connecting the LGBT community. They host events at LGBT-friendly venues on the last Thursday of each month throughout Shanghai, promoting a powerful message of awareness and acceptance.
- The issue of gay marriage has been brought to the attention of the National Congress several times, the first time happening in 2001 and the most recent occurrence in 2006.
- Unlike New York, the idea of homosexuality is still overall kept quiet in the community and the media. It is only slowly emerging as the government chooses to tackle issues of sexuality and most recently the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
- http://www.utopia-asia.com/chinshan.htm is one of the best sites to browse. The site on its own has detailed information about clubs, events, and current political issues. There are also personal stories from travelers and citizens of Shanghai, Chinese cities like Beijing, and also people of other East Asian countries and communities.
Eddy’s Bar – http://www.eddys-bar.com
- 1877 Huaihai Zhong Road
- A very famous venue, being one of the few bars to openly support and serve the LGBT community of China. This hotspot hosts a beautiful décor and has been compared to some of the best bars in other countries.
- 407 Dagu Lu by Chengdu Lu
- This restaurant is a gay-owned eatery that offers a menu of traditional Chinese and Shanghainese cuisine in an atmosphere comfortable for a Western public.
Club Deep – http://www.clubdeep.cn/english/home.asp
- 1649 Nan Jing West(xi) Road
- Known as the biggest gay club/lounge in China, Club Deep is the place to go for a great night of dancing, mingling and just having a good time. Though it can be pricey, the club makes up for it in atmosphere and variety.
- While offering a similar feel to Shanghai, Hong Kong distinguishes itself as an international hub of expats and other citizens within its LGBT community.
- If you are looking to escape the cosmopolitan nature of Shanghai while finding an increasingly accepting community, Beijing is the place.