China: Gay man accuses Tsinghua of discrimination

By Kowk Keung ( - 7 Dec 06

Xiao Tian, a gay man, sparked an uproar in the gay community in the capital after he accused the prestigious Tsinghua University of discriminating against gays, reported on December 6.

Xiao, in his 20s, wearing a signboard reading "I am gay and I hope to find my spouse on campus" was barred by security guards from entering the university. He was allowed to enter after he took off the signboard.

According to the website, Xiao's motivations were to find a partner and at the same time campaign for gay rights.

"When the security guards saw me with my board, they blocked me from entering the school," said Xiao.

According to the site, he had filed a complaint with the school's headmaster of discrimination against gays.

Xiao has known he is gay since he was about 10 years old, according to the site.

According to Xiao, the book Subculture of Homosexuality compiled by China's most famous socialist Li Yinhe helped him realize his sexual orientation.

Officials from Tsinghua rebutted Xiao's claims, saying the school had never looked down on homosexuals.

Officials said the school welcomes people from every walk of life on campus, but they need to show valid certifications.

Officials told the site that they have to investigate Xiao's case further.

The life of gay men in China has been in the public spotlight following a report that the capital now is home to 300,000 gay men and three per cent of them are infected with HIV.

This vast group of people has always been unknown, and lived their lives in the closet. Because of physiological and psychological differences, the outside world looks on homosexuals with ignorance and suspicion. This adds to the psychological burden and inner conflict that homosexuals may have, seriously influencing their lives and mental health.

A Qiang, who is in charge of a gay organization called the Gay and Media Program and is gay, disagreed with Xiao's bold move.

"I don't agree with Xiao's bold and irrational actions," A said, adding most homosexuals in China live with discrimination and because of this they are likely to be fragile and sensitive.

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