Beijing LGBT Center celebrates 5th anniversary

Beijing’s LGBT Center has released a short documentary on its work to celebrate the organization’s 5th anniversary

The Beijing LGBT Center has produced a 14 minute documentary about the organization’s work and trials and tribulations during its first 5 years to celebrate its 5th anniversary.

In the video, ‘From Me to We – 5 Years with the Beijing LGBT Center,’ staff and volunteers talk about what the Beijing LGBT Center means to them and the experiences that have touched them during their time with the center.

In the video Beijing LGBT Center board member Xu Bin talks about how she and a group of others working on LGBT issues in China had travelled to Taiwan and Europe and the US and found that the gay communities in those countries all had some kind of LGBT community center.

‘It was just like a family,’ Xu Bin remembers, ‘All sexual minorities were welcome.’

‘They could all find some kind of feeling like home or a feeling of belonging.’

Xu Bin says that in 2006 when they first had the idea for the center there were gay bars in Beijing but nowhere where LGBTs could come together to hold community activities.

‘In 2008 this dream finally became a reality because several of our groups managed to raise some funds,’ Xu Bin says.

‘Each group individually didn’t have enough but we decided to combine our funds. In that way we could try to make a family.’

When the center opened it only had two full time staff and one part time staff member who would mostly work from home.

Today the center has three full time staff, two part time staff, two interns and a pool of volunteers.

However the center has had its share of problems as well.

‘Last year the Beijing LGBT Center was kicked out twice by the landlord because the landlord felt we were doing homosexual activities,’ Xu Bin says.

‘It seemed like maybe he thought it was a bad influence on the neighbors, or a bad influence on the whole community. So among these two times we relocated [and] the Center had to pay for many financial losses and cased our many activities to not be able to have a fixed schedule.

‘We had to negotiate with the landlord. We had to negotiate with the neighborhood committee. We had to negotiate with the property owner. In addition to this, these people’s lack of understanding and discrimination towards LGBT people actually put a lot of mental pressure on the people who worked at the LGBT Center.’

The Beijing LGBT Center now hopes it has found a permanent location.

The Beijing LGBT Center is open to the public on Saturdays 10am – 9pm, and Sunday 10am – 5pm. The center is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but can be visited Wednesday – Friday outside activity times if you make an appointment.

It is located at Building B, Room 2, 606 Xin Tian Di Plaza, Xi Ba He Nan Lu Jia No.1, Chaoyang District, Beijing. Phone 010-64466970

by Andrew Potts
Source – Gay Star News