Queer and Expat in China

For Queer Newbies to Shenzhen: The Top 5 Q&A

Hello my dear lalas and boys! I’m back with a topic that I’m sure interests everyone. Being queer and new in Shenzhen is not easy, or anywhere else in China for that matter, I’ve been living here for almost 10 years and believe me when I tell you that things are very different and to a certain extent easier. So for all those who are new, not so new, are half lost or plan to come to Shenzhen, here are the top 5Q&As!

Just one of hotels presenting themselves as 8220gay friendly8221

I am Queer! Is this legal in China/Shenzhen?

Yes, it is legal! In 2001, China’s Psychiatric Association Remove homosexuality as a mental illness. However, it is still a big taboo within Chinese culture.

In 2016 Peking University’s sociology department carried out the largest survey of attitudes to, and among, homosexuals and other sexual minorities on behalf of the UN Development Program. It found that 58% of respondents (gay and straight) agreed with the statement that gays are rejected by their families—a higher level of rejection than occurs at work or school. Fewer than 15% of homosexuals said they had come out to their families, and more than half of those who did said they had experienced discrimination as a result.

However, within the LGBT community of foreigners and locals alike, you will feel accepted and you don’t need to worry about rejection, please follow the local laws of behavior, which are very standard, and you will be able to live a happy and queer life.

2. Which is the best district to live in Shenzhen?

Shenzhen is a great city and a big one. The city is made up of ten districts, however, the 3 main districts and where the most people are concentrated in are: Nanshan, Futian and Luohu, these three large districts have a great mix of locals and foreigners, if you are looking for a place with an excellent mix of local people, a hint of Hong Kong and foreigners: Luohu is the place for you, but if you prefer to live in the center of business, Futian is the heart of the city. If you like family life more and want to surround yourself with a strong community of foreigners Nanshan (including the sub-district of Shekou) is where you live.

Shenzhen CBD 8211 photo from Wikipedia

3. Are there gay bars in Shenzhen?

There are few bars out there, mostly underground so it is not easy to find them. Check this link for more information : Night Life! You should know we have a big gay scene happening in Shenzhen here are the 4 most important current events:

  1. Rainbow: This is new and they promise to come strong!
  2. Oosh: This a regular event for HK but it has move to Shenzhen, we will also be posting about their events.
  3. O’Garden: This bar located in Futian is not gay bar but every Wednesday, ladies night special, you will see a lot of queer faces that have taken this place as their meeting point.
  4. SaturGays:Reviews for this can be found on this blog also.

4.  I am queer, I am married and I am coming with my family to Shenzhen. Will the government recognize my status?

Unfortunately, although it is not illegal to be homosexual or to have a relationship with someone of the same sex, the Chinese government does not recognize a homosexual marriage no matter if it is between two foreigners or a foreign person with a Chinese person. If you have planned to come to China, you have a family, your partner can not get a couple visa, you will have to apply for the visa that corresponds, consult an agent!

5. If I come out of the closet at work, can I be fired?

If the company for which you work has done everything legally, it is not so easy to fire you as the investment to obtain your work and residence permit is very large. Likewise, the cultural pressure is not as strong for a foreigner as it is for a Chinese citizen. I have personally worked for Chinese companies in the past and I simply did not discuss my private life with any of my colleagues because I did not consider it necessary.

Of course, it is possible that you have a more positive experience. If you are a teacher and you work for or are looking to work for an international school, there are some good alternatives where they give support and accept their employees who are part of the LGBT community.

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