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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"Hilarious."

Image source.

[content note: anti-LGBT comments]

“Tammy, can you give us an example of something that’s ‘hilarious’?” I asked a student in one of my classes. I was asking for a bunch of examples to check if the students understood the adjectives we were covering in that lesson.

“I was riding the bus and I saw two men sitting across from me... they were falling in love. I saw two gays on the bus and it was hilarious!”

Ohhhhhhhhhkay then. Crap. As a teacher, what the heck am I supposed to do with that?

As other students in the class started to snicker. Great.

I said, “Ah, yeah I see. Some people would think it’s hilarious. I think it’s normal!” and then moved on to the next adjective.

As offensive as it was, she definitely understood what “hilarious” means. So, I gotta affirm that and also throw out the idea that yeah, other people won’t agree with that description.

Ai yo.

Whenever I’m talking with students (adult students in China), and the idea of people being gay comes up, everyone laughs like it’s a huge joke. Like the idea of being gay is a really really funny thing.

I don’t know what it’s like for actual LBGT Chinese people. But from what I’ve seen, Chinese culture is less accepting than American culture. People my age laugh about it, and jokingly tell their straight guy friends who spend a lot of time together, “you guys must be gay.” On top of that, you’ve got the one-child policy, which means the vast majority of Chinese in my generation are their parents’ only hope for grandchildren. Lots of pressure to get married and have kids.

That’s the extent of my knowledge on the subject. I’d like to find some actual LGBT Chinese people and hear what they have to say.

_______________

Unrelated to the topic of how LGBT people are viewed in China, but interesting for my American readers: In Chinese culture, what’s considered “normal” masculinity and femininity is way different than in the US. I’ve seen male security guards wearing pink Hello Kitty mittens. (Straight) Chinese girls who are best friends hold hands in public. And sometimes you see a boyfriend and girlfriend wearing identical outfits. Like, wearing the exact same t-shirt, one in a women's cut and one in a man's cut. It’s normal here.

Really common to see couples walking around like this in public. Image source.

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