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(It is named after the US group PFLAG, whose acronym originally stood for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, but the two are not affiliated.)his year Ah Qiang said he has seen more events by PFLAG and other gay rights groups forced to cancel by authorities than he can remember since the organization was founded.He said he has learned from his government sources that LGBT activists are listed among feminists, labor activists, and military veterans as a priority in China’s latest round of tightened controls over civil society.It was a family trip and a hookup party, a rebellion against stifling social mores—and an attempt to run away from them for a little while.The Glory Sea has seven decks that are named after Greek gods and planets, such as Apollo, Venus, and Neptune. Like many of its Asian neighbors, Chinese society places a high value in filial piety, the virtues of showing respect and obedience to parents, elders, and ancestors.He chose a cruise ship as the venue of this year’s gathering in part because no registration or pre-approval with authorities for the events on board is required.
Zhang Jian, a tall, skinny 35-year-old, and his straight friend, Lu Nao, my roommates on the trip, are often mistaken for a couple.
Several LGBT events were forced by authorities to cancel in recent months, as the ruling Communist Party tightened control over civil society in the run-up to a leadership reshuffle meeting that begins next week (Oct. Days before setting sail, PFLAG activists warned passengers against waving rainbow flags or any signs with pride slogans at Shanghai’s port for fear the tour could be shut down at the last minute.
Although there’s growing acceptance in cities, most Chinese LGBT citizens still live fractured, closeted lives: Only 15% have come out to their parents, and only 5% have disclosed their sexuality or gender identity in public, due to fears of discrimination and abuse from their families and society, according to a 2016 survey from the United Nations.
At a workshop onboard, a 48-year-old affluent steelworker who called himself Success Dad told other parents that he is a member of the Hui people, one of China’s two major Muslim ethnic groups.
He recounted thinking that his 21-year-old son had lost his values because of “not going often enough to mosques.” (2009), at his son’s recommendation.
Although his ex-wife didn’t want him to, Zhang came out to his daughter when she was around four. At times, Zhang picks up his daughter, now nine years old, to stay with him, and over time she’s met some of his previous boyfriends. After all, he said, “a child’s impressions are shaped by grown-ups and this world.”For its part, PFLAG China is devoted to reshaping as many people’s impression of homosexuality as it can.