‘What’s Love Got to Do with It?’: LGBTQ Rights and Patriotism in Xi’s China
12 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2019
Date Written: November 21, 2019
Although LGBTQ rights activism in China has made great strides over the past decade, the nascent LGBTQ movement is navigating increasing constraints and uncertainty in the era of Xi Jinping. Although Chinese LGBTQ activists may push a vision of social inclusion through a framework that ‘love is love’, in practice, this article argues that LGBTQ rights must be understood within the context of other kinds of ‘love’—including patriotism (love of country), filial piety (love of family) and Party loyalty (love of the Chinese Communist Party)—which present significant structural barriers to LGBTQ rights advancement in China. Increased restrictions on social media, increased Party control on the internet, and heightened control of social organisations (including NGOs, foundations and social welfare organisations) under Xi Jinping’s second term have also restricted traditional avenues for LGBTQ rights activists. They have negatively affected LGBTQ visibility within Chinese society—both in terms of the emergence of LGBTQ characters and themes within popular culture and entertainment, as well as advocacy-oriented organising and public education. This have forced LGBTQ advocates to innovate as they advance a vision of social inclusion and equality for all citizens amidst competing visions of Chinese citizenship.
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