The Story Behind Shenzhen's Saturgays Events

By Sky Gidge, April 19, 2017

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All she had to do was arrive, said Shane Ryan.

Drag ‘superstar' Kim Ber Lee entered Shekou’s Blu Bamboo and the room lit up.

“They lined up to take pictures with Kim. That was a surreal moment for me to witness,” said Ryan, the main organizer behind Shenzhen's Saturgays. 


Having lived in San Francisco, Ryan arrived in Shenzhen to discover the city was largely missing gay-friendly events. After a conversation in Shekou’s Blu Bamboo, he decided to change that.

"This city is missing a gay scene and this venue would be perfect to host it,” Ryan had said. After approaching the management, Saturgays quickly took shape as an event featuring drag queens and DJs. 

READ MORE: Shenzhen's First LGBT Pride Party Was a Blast

Having been held twice, the event has already drawn people from Hong Kong and Guangzhou, with last month’s selling about 170 tickets.

Despite popularity, it hasn’t been easy.

“There seems to be an automatic misunderstanding of what an LGBTQ event consists of,” says Ryan, who works as an IT Manager. “Bar owners… worry that their venue will be associated with something illegal.”


Despite the name, the event isn’t limited to an LGBTQ crowd. 

“Saturgays was started to bring together a community… anyone who felt they did not have a support circle, friends like them or simply to meet some new people,” he said.

Looking for a more central location, Saturgays is moving to Nanshan’s Future One for Saturday's event.

“If we can provide support and an entertaining night once a month that helps anyone in anyway feel more confident and less isolated, we have done our job,” said Ryan.

See our event listing for Saturgays.

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