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Resentful unmarried women became jealous. Confucianism, being primarily a social and political philosophy, focused little on sexuality, whether homosexual or heterosexual. However, the ideology did emphasize male friendships, and Louis Crompton has argued that the "closeness of the master-disciple bond it fostered may have subtly facilitated homosexuality". In a similar way to Buddhism, Taoist schools sought throughout history to define what would be sexual misconduct. The precept against Sexual Misconduct is sex outside your marriage. Opposition to homosexuality in China rose in the medieval Tang Dynasty , being attributed by some writers to the influence of Christian and Islamic values, [16] but did not become fully established until the late Qing Dynasty and the Chinese Republic.

The earliest law against a homosexual act dates from the Song Dynasty , punishing "young males who act as prostitutes. Contemporary Chinese Experimental Fiction , said "a clear-cut dichotomy between heterosexuality and homosexuality did not exist in traditional China.

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Same-gender love can sometimes be difficult to differentiate in Classical Chinese because the pronouns he and she were not distinguished. And like many East and Southeast Asian languages, Chinese does not have grammatical gender.

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Thus, poems such as Tang Dynasty poems and other Chinese poetry may be read as either heterosexual or homosexual, or neutral in that regard, depending on the reader's desire. Another complication in trying to separate heterosexual and homosexual themes in Chinese literature is that for most of Chinese history, writing was restricted to a cultivated elite , amongst whom blatant discussion of sex was considered vulgar.

Until adopting European values late in their history, the Chinese did not even have nouns to describe a heterosexual or homosexual person per se. Rather, people who might be directly labeled as such in other traditions would be described by veiled allusions to the actions they enjoyed, or, more often, by referring to a famous example from the past. This manuscript sought to present the "supreme joy" sex in every form known to the author; the chapter on homosexuality comes between chapters on sex in Buddhist monasteries and sex between peasants.

It is the earliest surviving manuscript to mention homosexuality, but it does so through phrases such as "cut sleeves in the imperial palace", "countenances of linked jade", and "they were like Lord Long Yang ", phrases which would not be recognizable as speaking of sexuality of any kind to someone who was not familiar with the literary tradition. While these conventions make explicit mentions of homosexuality rare in Chinese literature in comparison to the Greek or Japanese traditions, the allusions which do exist are given an exalted air by their frequent comparison to former Golden Ages and imperial favorites.

The ruler is nonplussed at first, but Zhuang justifies his suggestion through allusion to a legendary homosexual figure and then recites a poem in that figure's honor. A remarkable aspect of traditional Chinese literature is the prominence of same-gender friendship.


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Bai Juyi is one of many writers who wrote dreamy, lyrical poems to male friends about shared experiences. He and fellow scholar-bureaucrat Yuan Zhen made plans to retire together as Taoist recluses once they had saved enough funds, but Yuan's death kept that dream from being fulfilled.

Other works depict less platonic relationships. There is a tradition of clearly erotic literature , which is less known. It is supposed that most such works have been purged in the periodic book burnings that have been a feature of Chinese history. However, isolated manuscripts have survived. The first short story, Chronicle of a Loyal Love , involves a twenty-year-old academician chasing a fifteen-year-old scholar and a bevy of adolescent valets. The work appeared in a single edition some time between and More recently, Ding Ling , an author of the s in China, was a prominent and controversial feminist author, and it is generally agreed that she had lesbian or at least bisexual content in her stories.

Her most famous piece is " Miss Sophia's Diary ", a seminal work in the development of a voice for women's sexuality and sexual desire. Author Pai Hsien-yung created a sensation by coming out of the closet in Taiwan, and by writing about gay life in Taipei in the s and 70s. Same-sex love was also celebrated in Chinese art, many examples of which have survived the various traumatic political events in recent Chinese history.

Though no large statues are known to still exist, many hand scrolls and paintings on silk can be found in private collections [1]. Gay identities and communities have expanded in China since the s as a result of resurfacing dialogue about and engagement with queer identities in the public domain. While lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender LGBT culture remains largely underground, there are a plethora of gay cruising zones and often unadvertised gay bars, restaurants and discos spread across the country.

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The recent and escalating proliferation of gay identity in mainland China is most significantly signaled by its recognition in mainstream media despite China's media censorship. There are also many gay websites and LGBT organisations which help organise gay rights' campaigns, AIDS prevention efforts, film festivals and pride parades.

Yet public discourse on the issue remains fraught - a product of competing ideologies surrounding the body; the morality of its agency in the public and private arena. Like in many other western and non-western societies, public sentiment on homosexuality in China sits within a liminal space. While it is not outright condemned, neither is it fully accepted as being part of the social norm.

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In many instances, those who associate with the queer community also associate with another marginalised group, such as rural-to-urban migrants and sex workers, and therefore the stigma that is attached to aspects of queer identity is often a manifestation of perceived social disobedience against different intersecting vectors of 'moral rights'. As Elaine Jeffreys and Haiqing Yu note in their book, Sex in China, individuals who interact within the queer community do not necessarily identify as being homosexual.

Their minority status is imbued with aspects of criminality and poverty. This suggests that the 'perverseness' attached to homosexuality in mainland China is not purely informed by a biological discourse, but, depending on the circumstances, can also be informed by accepted notions of cultural and social legitimacy.

GAY AND LESBIAN SUBCULTURE IN URBAN CHINA | By Loretta Wing Wah Ho | Pacific Affairs

The influence of Western gay and lesbian culture on China's culture is complex. While Western ideas and conceptions of gayness have begun to permeate the Chinese gay and lesbian identity, some Chinese gay and lesbian activists have pushed back against the mainstream politics of asserting one's own identity and pushing for social change due to its disruption of "family ties and social harmony.

Justice Anthony Kennedy quoted Confucius in his majority ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges [40] leading to discussion of the ruling on Sina Weibo. In a male couple held a symbolic wedding in public, and China Daily took the photo of the two men in a passionate embrace across its pages. Other symbolic gay and lesbian weddings have been held across the country and have been covered positively by the Chinese media. In , Luo Hongling, a university professor, committed suicide because she knew her husband was a gay man. She alleged their marriage was just a lie since the man could not admit he was gay to his parents.

Luo was considered a 'homowife' - local slang for a woman married to a homosexual male, akin to the English term 'beard'. Adult, consensual and non-commercial homosexuality has been legal in China since , when the national penal code was revised. Officially, overt police enforcement against gay people is restricted to gay people engaging in sex acts in public or prostitution, which are also illegal for heterosexuals.

However, despite these changes, no civil rights law exists to address discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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