Building a Community, and an Empire, With a Gay Dating App in China

Beijing — Ma Baoli was accustomed to secrets. By day, he was a police officer in northern China with a wife and a knack for street chases. By night, he led a life as a gay man, furtively running a website for gay people across China at a time when many were viewed as criminals… Read more »

Thousands in Taiwan call on their government to be the first in Asia to legalize gay marriage

As Taiwan enters the final stage of a debate over whether to legalize same-sex marriage, supporters of the move have made a final push to convince Taiwan’s lawmakers to pass the relevant legislation. On Saturday (Dec. 10), supporters of LGBT rights gathered at Ketagalan Boulevard, the main artery around the presidential office. Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan,… Read more »

This gay Indian couple have made a photo book of Delhi’s LGBT community after the recriminalisation of homosexuality

The London-based artists compare India’s recriminalisation of homosexuality to ‘post-Brexit, or post-Trump’ Sunil Gupta and Charan Singh say their eyes met across the room at a HIV conference in Delhi, which they used to call home before moving to London. Sunil, in his sixties, has witnessed the shift in attitudes towards same-sex relationships in India… Read more »

Gay Indonesians On Edge as Incidents of Brazen Homophobia Rise

Jakarta — Homophobic rhetoric is nothing new in Indonesian politics. In recent months, elected officials have labeled gay Indonesians as morally corrupt, inconsistent with national values, and “worse than nuclear warfare.” But the recent arrest of several gay men at a private party in south Jakarta’s Kalibata City was a shock for many, both because… Read more »

This transgender bodybuilder is crushing barriers in Vietnam

It’s Sunday morning in Ho Chi Minh City. Blistering heat is vaporizing last night’s downpour on the streets of District 7, an upscale area southeast of the city center and popular with expats. Under the unforgiving lights of a gym so polished it looks barely used, Kendy rehearses the poses that he hopes will win… Read more »

Following Attacks, Gay Bangladeshis Are Retreating Into The Closet

“We have never imagined the situation would be like this.” Bangkok (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Seven months after al Qaeda-linked militants hacked Bangladesh’s most prominent gay activist to death, the South Asian country’s LGBT community remains in hiding, while more than a dozen LGBT people have fled abroad. “The whole community has been sent back… Read more »

Taiwan debates gay marriage

It would be the first country in Asia to legalise it On The eighth floor in a gritty suburb of the capital, Taipei, sits the ten-year-old Wei-ming temple, a Taoist house of worship—but an unusual one. Nearly all the visitors buying bundles of prayers or bringing handwritten ones of their own to be burnt by… Read more »

The UN’s LGBT expert has advocated for a global partnership to end violence

He advocated for unity in his keynote speech at the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) in Bangkok. Vitit Muntarbhorn said: “resolute action is required to stop the violence and discrimination affecting not only LGBT communities but also the human rights defenders working with them… “this goes hand in hand with the… Read more »

Young gay men at the frontline of AIDS prevention in China

Young gay men are the frontline of China’s battle to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, with new cases occurring at one of the fastest rates of any segment of the population. More than 2,300 students between 15 and 24 tested positive for HIV/AIDS in the first nine months of this year, with new cases in… Read more »

13 men arrested in Indonesia for holding ‘gay sex party’ even though they committed no crimes

Around 50 members of an extremist religious mob barged into the gay person’s home Jakarta police have arrested 13 men for holding a ‘gay sex party’ even though there is no evidence they committed a crime. Around 50 members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) barged into an apartment in South Jakarta, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar… Read more »

LGBT Jakartans: ‘Worse than a nuclear bomb? We just want to be accepted’

Intro: “In the Guardian newspaper Nov 26 was this report composed by a ‘typical’reporter Stanley Widianto which attempts to scare people into thinking that Armageddon is about to happen for the LGBT community in Indonesia. As usual the writer has found the worst examples of fear to re-enforce his negative point of view. He does… Read more »

What happens when a man contracts HIV in Malaysia

Humans of Kuala Lumpur About seven percent of men who have sex with men (MSM) are HIV-positive, and the trend is likely to rise, the Malaysian Aids Council (MAC) says. However, it is difficult for these men to come forward and seek assistance because they are often stigmatised – for being HIV-positive and then for… Read more »

Decriminalizing Same Sex Relations In Asia: Socio-Cultural Factors Impeding Legal Reform

Editorial note: (why former British colonies in Asia have resisted calls to decriminalize same sex relation) I. Introduction In 1967, homosexual acts between consenting adults were decriminalized in England and Wales.1 Almost half a century later, however, it remains an offense to engage in same sex acts or same sex relations2 in every former British… Read more »

Federal Judge Rules That Title VII Covers Sexual Orientation Discrimination

A federal judge in Pittsburgh on Thursday ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is representing Dale Baxley in his claim that Scott Medical Health Center of Pittsburgh created a sexually hostile work environment because he’s… Read more »

82,000 Join Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade; Justice Minister Calls For Marriage Equality

Over 80,000 people on Saturday marched in Taiwan’s largest LGBT Pride parade. According to The China Post, attendance at Taipei’s 14th annual parade increased from 78,000 last year to 82,000 this year. Marchers dressed in colorful costumes and waived rainbow flags as they paraded in front of Taiwan’s presidential palace. One marcher waved a sign… Read more »

Death of gay professor may lead to same-sex marriage in Taiwan

Jacques Picoux’s death was described as a ‘pivotal moment’ by LGBT activists in the country. Seen by many as one of the most progressive countries in Asia on LGBT rights, Taiwan is yet to introduce marriage equality, allowing only limited recognition of same-sex relationships. The government’s slow progress on the issue has been felt by… Read more »

HIV is growing so fast among Chinese youth that a university is selling testing kits in vending machines

As a growing number of young people (link in Chinese) become infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in China, a Chinese university in a high-risk area has started selling HIV testing kits in vending machines. The kits, which cost less than $5, are sold alongside snacks and drinks in the machines at China’s Southwest Petroleum… Read more »

China’s first-ever Gay Games team could be the largest delegation ever

China plans to participate in its first-ever Gay Games in Paris in 2018, and they are already poised to dominate — at least in terms of sheer numbers. “With already 20 registrations for badminton, swimming, volleyball, marathon, bike, track, triathlon and other sports, Team China is aiming to bring the largest delegation ever to participate… Read more »

India arrested hundreds last year under colonial-era anti-gay law

Hundreds of people were arrested last year under India’s Colonial era anti-gay law. Homosexuality is illegal in India under freshly-reinstated Section 377 of the penal code, originally based on outdated British law. The century-old law was brought back into effect by India’s Supreme Court in 2013, outlawing “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”. The… Read more »

China Grapples With HIV Cases Among Gay Men, but Stigma Runs Deep

Surge in infections worries health authorities and prompts soul-searching in conservative society Beijing—A health report from a southeastern corner of China has brought a disturbing truth into the open: HIV infections are growing rapidly among young, gay Chinese men. The trend is worrying health authorities—and prompting criticism of their efforts to respond—in a country that… Read more »

What’s behind Indonesian authorities’ desire to control LGBT sexuality?

Indonesia’s LGBT community has been weathering “unprecedented attacks” through hateful public comments by top public officials since early this year. But the biggest threat yet has come recently in a legal move by a conservative group, the Family Love Alliance (AILA), to criminalise any sexual activity outside marriage. The Constitutional Court is deliberating the alliance’s… Read more »

“No struggles, but also no joys:” What it’s like growing up gay in China

“What’s like growing up in China being gay?” This is often the first serious question I get when someone I’ve just met discovers I’m gay and grew up in mainland China. I understand their curiosity—the concept can seem almost oxymoronic. In totalitarian China, where everything is reined under the tight leash of the Communist Party,… Read more »

Beyond Legal Progress: The Reality of LGBT Discrimination in Vietnam

Over a year on from Vietnam’s lifting of bans on same-sex marriage ceremonies, advancements in the rights of LGBT citizens throughout the Southeast Asian region seem to have stagnated, and indeed in some cases, regressed. In Thailand, the recognition of a “third gender” in its constitution is a victory for its transgender citizens, but legal… Read more »

China’s gay rights charade

On Monday, Qiu Bai, a 22-year-old student from the city of Guangzhou, China, took the Chinese Ministry of Education to court in Beijing to demand that it change the way college textbooks talk about homosexuality. Right now, most of them call it a disease. The trial went mostly as Qiu had expected. A government official… Read more »

Student Challenges Homosexuality ‘Disorder’ Textbooks In China

A gay Chinese student is challenging her government over school textbooks that describe homosexuality as a mental disorder. Gay sex is not illegal in China and homosexuality was delisted as a mental disorder in 2001. Twenty-one-year-old Qiu Bai, a student at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, told Reuters that “40 percent of the psychology and… Read more »

Indonesian police want gay dating app ban

Jakarta – Indonesian police said Friday they want a ban on gay dating apps in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country after a paedophile ring allegedly used popular service Grindr to pimp boys. It was the latest move by Indonesian authorities against homosexuals, who have faced a sudden backlash this year, with the government recently… Read more »

A Push To Decriminalize Homosexuality

Sashini, a transgender woman in Colombo, has formally petitioned the National Human Rights Commission to urge the government to recognize her as female by issuing her official documents that reflect her lived gender. A strong push is being made to decriminalise homosexuality in Sri Lanka and to provide greater protection for all sexual minorities. Efforts… Read more »

Secrets and Suspicion in Uzbekistan

Sept. 1 marked Uzbekistan’s 25th year of independence and the first national celebration of it without the president, Islam Karimov, in attendance. A few days earlier, the Uzbek government announced that Mr. Karimov, 78, had suffered a serious brain hemorrhage — an unusual proclamation considering pronouncements about his health were often as glowing as those… Read more »

[DASH of SAS] ‘Mercy’ sex in Iloilo

‘They are transitional men. They engage in sex transactionally, on a case-to-case basis, or maybe when the need arises’ Raj, Popoy, Jeo, and Makoy* share many things, as many good friends do. They share the same interests like going out as a barkada, video games, and girls. The 4 boys share the same neighborhood and… Read more »

For Nguyen Hai Yen, it all started with the need to find a connection. As a queer woman living in Vietnam during the early 2000s, it was easy to feel like she was the only one.

At a time when being gay or queer was still considered by many in the country a “social evil” on par with drug use and prostitution, coming out in Vietnam wasn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do. So Yen decided to turn to the one place she knew of to try and find a connection… Read more »

Vietnam’s LGBTQ Movement Is in Full Bloom

For Nguyen Hai Yen, it all started with the need to find a connection. As a queer woman living in Vietnam during the early 2000s, it was easy to feel like she was the only one. At a time when being gay or queer was still considered by many in the country a “social evil”… Read more »

Hundreds of LGBT and supporters rally in Kathmandu

The marchers, who supported the rights of sexual minorities, carried banners saying, “We should not be deprived of our rights. We demand implementation of the rights guaranteed by the new constitution.” About a thousand members of sexual minorities and their supporters paraded in Nepal’s capital on Friday, to demand equality and implementation of their rights… Read more »

A Happy Warrior in a Faltering Battle for Indonesian Gay Rights

Surabaya, Indonesia — After the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last year, a leading Indonesian television station held a prime-time debate about whether this Muslim-majority democracy should do the same. On one side of the stage stood a conservative Muslim theologian and a member of Parliament, both of whom strongly rejected the idea… Read more »

Indonesia has ‘no room’ for LGBT community says president’s spokesperson

The spokesperson for the president of Indonesia has said that the country has “no room” for the LGBT community. Amid reports of an unprecedented amount of anti-LGBT attacks in Indonesia, Johan Budi, the spokesman for the president, has said there is “no room” for the LGBT community. He said, “Rights of citizens like going to… Read more »

Georgian President blocks referendum on constitutional gay marriage ban

The Georgian President has shot down a proposed referendum on a new constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. A petition calling for the referendum in the country had gathered 200,000 signatures. However, in a press conference this week, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili flatly rejected the proposal to hold a referendum that would constitutionally define marriage as… Read more »

Risqué business: first Mr Gay China shows new, more public face of LGBT

Meng Fanyu has been voted China’s first ever Mr Gay, after a previous attempt to hold the competition in 2010 was shut down In a smoky, strobe-lit nightclub in south Shanghai, Meng Fanyu strides out on stage wearing a theatrical get-up of top hat, bow tie and black eyeliner. To the delight of a roaring… Read more »

Queer life undercover in South Asia

We Were Lounging on oversized floor cushions in my parents’ living room in Karachi when my friend Ali Mehdi Zaidi told me he was moving to London. The talented photographer said he couldn’t stand living as a gay man in Pakistan, where the gay scene was too focused on one-night stands, abuse, and subterfuge. He… Read more »

China: Progress on LGBTI rights. But more to do

Public opinion shifting to accept LGBTI people & equal rights Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, writes: LGBTI rights in China are moving in the right direction, slowly. The country’s ancient history and literature is scattered with references to gay men, such as Emperor Ai who, legend has it, cut off his sleeve… Read more »

What It’s Like Growing Up Gay in Afghanistan

Whether Omar Mateen was gay or had any kind of sexual feelings for other men, same-sex attraction in Afghanistan, where his family was from, is shrouded in its own mystery. We were sitting on the cliffs as darkness fell, obscuring our view of the niches across from us where the giant Buddhas had for centuries… Read more »

Japan election manifestos free LGBT rights from political closet

When openly gay independent candidate Wataru Ishizaka campaigned for a 2007 Tokyo local election, people snickered at his speeches, but now even Japan’s conservative ruling party mentions gay rights in its platform for this year’s upper house election. Though the paragraph is deep in the manifesto of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)… Read more »