As those of us in the United States bask in the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage that came out last week, eyes are turning to Asia, where in China, Teresa Xu and her partner Li TingTing, have held a small, informal wedding that was attended by close friends.
The hope is to draw attention to and push for same-sex unions or marriages in China. The couple cites the US SCOTUS decision as part of their inspiration.
Li was among the group of feminists who was detained in March for her social activism. She wasn’t allowed to see Teresa during this time due to their relationship not being recognized.
Homosexuality in China has made strides toward progress in the last few years, as homosexuality was decriminalized in 1997. But unlike the US, where a vast majority of opposition comes from a religious and moral grounding, in China, opposition to same gender relationships and unions comes more from familial based pressure due to the countries one-child policy. Familial pressure often leads to what is referred to as “fake marriages,” where lesbians and gay men will meet and marry each other to appease their parents, and as well as for economic convenience.
According to the Pew research group, 21% of China’s population is in favor of accepting the LGBT community. Li and Teresa’s decision to marry to bring light to their partnership is amazing, and has received international coverage.
Demonstrations and civil disobedience is part of the way that progress happens over time. Major social movements happen through planned, coordinated risk. What it means to the people of China that this issue is receiving international coverage is that the ball is rolling on social change. Whether this means a long road ahead for this movement, or social and political upheaval remains to be seen.
Image courtesy of InSapphoWeTrust, via Wikimedia Commons
Mehek Naresh is an Indian American lesbian, living and working in Florida after recently graduating with a Bachelors in Political Science. Her hobbies seeking out small talk with cashiers, reading, and spending more time staring at tumblr than she’d care to admit.