Thursday, 19 January 2012

January 19: Zhou Dan, Pioneer Chinese Gay Activist

b. January 19, 1974
Law and policy always involve compromise and sometimes being a progressive means taking things one step at a time.
One generation removed from the persecution of gays under the People's Republic of China, Chinese gays encounter different obstacles than their American counterparts. Many Chinese believe that homosexuality exists only in the western world. The absence of legal protection and the threat of social isolation keep most Chinese GLBT individuals in the closet.
GLBT activist and attorney Zhou Dan came out to his friends in 1998 and the media in 2003. A champion of GLBT rights in China, Zhou writes articles on Chinese gay and lesbian Web sites. Although many GLBT Chinese use pseudonyms, Zhou uses his real name. After revealing his sexuality to a Shanghai newspaper in 2003, Zhou appeared across China in newspapers and magazines and on television. Earlier that year, he established the Shanghai Hotline for Sexual Minorities.
In 2004, Zhou attended Yale Law School's China Law Center as a visiting scholar. In 2006, he taught China's first graduate class on homosexuality at Fudan University in Shanghai.


“Zhou Dan.” Yale Law School: The China Law Center. July 3, 2007
Beech, Hannah and Susan Guangzhou. “Changing the Game in China.” Time. June 20, 2005. July 3, 2007
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  1. How can I get in contact with him? I am freelance journalist in New York City.

  2. Thanks for the interest. The original source for this was the GLBT History month series for 2007, a project of the Equality Forum. Perhaps they can help.


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