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Travel Guide - Utopia, a guide to gay China

by Rien Ultee in Travel and weekendtrips , 17 maart 2006


Now that China slowly but surely wants to manifest itself within the Western nations, gays and lesbians can’t be excluded of course. The first real gay guidebook to China was published in 2005. 156 pages filled with bars, clubs, saunas, restaurants, hotels, cruising areas etc. Utopia created this gay guide not just for gay men but also reserved space for lesbians.

The Gay Guide contains information on 45 cities in China and might look rather basic to the Western gays: just a few black-and-white photos and printed on what seems to be recycled paper. The cities Beijing, Chendu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau and Shanghai are of course among the better known destinations but also lesser known cities are included in this guide book.

Homosexuality is not entirely strange on the Chinese cultural historic radar. Although not spoken of during the Shan dynasty, almost all emperors of the Han dynasty used to have male lovers. The tradition of having a lover boy was tolerated for generations as long as men also produced children with a wife.


The conservative Qing dynasty in the seventeenth century and the British colonial imperialists in the eighteenth century, and finally Mao in the twentieth century with his program to destroy the diversity of the Chinese cultural traditions including having sex with someone of the same gender, have been catastrophic.

In 2001 however, an official listing of homosexuality being a disease was short lived.

China’s extended literary traditions offer a lot of elegant references to the social acceptance of same sex relationships in the diverse layers of society. Of course some of these legendary romances are still reflected in the language used to describe homosexuality.

The discussion on HIV and AIDS has unfortunately not really taken hold yet. Slowly but surely the authorities seem to realize now that not only diversity of people in general is an important issue, but that gays and lesbians can take on the front line in education and information transfers in the battle against AIDS.

Beijing is one of the most important cities in China and everyone you meet there will tell you how much this city has changed over the past few years.

Even more changes will come with the organization of the Olympic Games. The large city of Hong Kong also has several spots to pamper gays, if not in a sauna then at some other spot.

This guide includes many other cities however, with all their (nightlife) highlights and also shopping in luxury stores.

Amsterdam enjoyed an extensive China festival last year and at the end of January there will be a grand New Year’s concert in the Concertgebouw.



Maybe this spectacle with traditional Chinese music and dance will inspire you to pay China a visit.

For more info on China: http://www.utopia-asia.com



 







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