It is getting better for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in China. Slowly. For every stumble (like censorship on Weibo) there’s a step in the right direction (like the public support that reversed the decision).
But free expression online can’t replace real-life community, where people can pierce the isolation to feel connected and whole.
That’s where groups like SZUMMER PRIDE (SZP) come in. Now in its third year, the Shenzhen-based LGBT celebration enjoys the proud support of That’s PRD and businesses across the city.
“Pride is a time for people from all walks of life to come together and celebrate what makes us different,” Alex McCutcheon, one of the organizers, tells us. “We create spaces where you can be yourself, no matter who you are or who you love.”
The organizers take inspiration from celebrations like Guangzhou’s PRiDe, with whom they share resources and recruit guests for events like the Wet & Wild parties taking over a Xichong beach resort during Dragon Boat weekend.
It was a visit to PRiDe that inspired McCutcheon and Alessandro Nicolau to launch SZP with a pool party for 80 in the summer of 2016. Despite a few hiccups – “issues like the original venue suddenly becoming unavailable, torrential rains during site setup and even performers getting stuck in traffic,” McCutcheon recalls – it’s grown to a month of festivities.
Besides the two-day beach party with fashion shows, gifts, international DJs and gogo boys, there are parties on June 22 and 23 for those who want to burn up the dance floor.
In 2017 we started to experiment with creating spaces where the LGBT community can interact meaningfully with other residents of our city and reactions ranged from indifference to curiosity to outspoken support for the happiness and dignity of LGBT people. Of course there have been certain businesses who found it difficult to support us for various reasons, but there are many more who have been proud to stand by us and support us as we grow.
Help the PRD’s LGBT community grow: scan the QR to learn more and join in this year’s fun.
[Images via SZUMMER PRIDE]