Electric shocks for China's homosexuals

China’s one-child policy might have contributed to the resentment families feel towards homosexual children. "People are under pressure to present a grandchild to their parents -- preferably male," says Human Rights Watch researcher Maya Wang.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Electric shocks for China's homosexuals - NewsMavens
Shanghai gay pride. Kris Krug/Flickr

Why this story matters:

In many countries, it's religious constraints that make life difficult for homosexuals, but in China, it’s mostly family expectations. Parents force their gay children to take medication and undergo electric shock therapy.

The human rights Watch (HRW) organization recently issued a report that paints a worrying picture of LBGT rights in China. Homosexuality hasn't been considered a criminal offense since 1997. In 2001 it was removed from an official list of mental illnesses.

But, despite the legal framework, homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals in the People's Republic are still far from accepted. Families force homosexual relatives into hospitals -- sometimes without their consent. Parents drag their children to the doctor for electroconvulsive therapy.

"These people are sometimes shown depictions of gay sex," says HRW researcher Maya Wang to Der Standard."If they get aroused, they are electrocuted."

China’s one-child policy might have contributed to the resentment families feel towards homosexual children.

"People are under pressure to present a grandchild to their parents -- preferably male," says Wang.

Courts have ruled that "transformational therapies" are illegal. But authorities in Beijing have been attacking depictions of homosexuality in the public sphere. In March 2016 they banned the portrayal of homosexuals in TV productions. In July 2017, there was a crackdown against LGBT content on the Internet.

Details from the story:

  • In China, gay sex was considered a crime until 1997, and homosexuality was an officially recognized mental illness until 2001
  • Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently issued a report highlighting discrimination faced by the LGBT population in China
  • Chinese families are forcing their gay children to take medication and to undergo electroconvulsive therapy to “cure” them
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