Imagine being a gay couple in China with no chance of a legalized wedding. It is very disheartening and unjust.
Then imagine a competition that would allow seven lucky couples to get an all-expense paid marriage in Hollywood, California. China does not legally recognize same-sex unions and campaigners in the country believe it is likely to be several years before such legislation is even considered.
The couples had entered and won a ‘We Do’ competition run by gay social app Blued, in conjunction with Taobao – the Chinese equivalent of eBay. Can you imagine the excitement of picking out wedding clothes and the joy of being married to the person you love.
One couple who did have parental support, were Duan Rongfeng and Li Tao of Shanghai , who have been together 11 years. Tao said that he had received a text message from his mom in China that morning saying: ‘This must be a very exciting moment in your life. As your mom, I wish you all the happiness … forever.’
The Mayor Gets Involved
The weddings took place yesterday at 9am at the City Council Chambers in the local public library and were officiated by the Mayor of WeHo, Lindsey P. Horvath. Mayor Horvath, who said in a statement, ‘We hope that this wedding will send a strong message, especially to LGBT people across the globe, that the City of West Hollywood celebrates your right to marry and welcomes your destination wedding as a symbol of our commitment to equality for all.’
Not everyone is “out” to their family! One lesbian couple
Xue Mengyao and Xu Na met one another at the Beijing LGBT Center two years ago. Mengyao told the LA Times that despite the heavy presence of media at the event, she still had not told her family back home she was a lesbian, but was waiting to show them photos of the event so that they would be able to see how happy she was marrying the woman she loved.
CEO of Blued
Yes, there was obviously publicity in hosting such a competition, but the CEO stated an honourable intention.
He wanted to let people in China know that there are places where ‘this sort of love and companionship is accepted.’
SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW
The couples walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow. This was their day and no government red tape could take their love and commitment away.
Now, it was recognized albeit in another country. They are married and this gives hope to China’s 70 million-strong LGBT community.
The message was clear – don’t give up hope and keep fighting. Love is universal and not the private dominion of straight couples.