Other Sheep in
CHINA 2010
  • CHINA 2010:  Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Hainan, Beijing
  • INDIA 2010:  Bangalore, Trivandrum, Alleppey, Cochin
Fri, December 31, 2010 5:06:01 AM
Subject: Guangzhou report is now ready
From:  Felix Liew <felisefo@yahoo.com>    
To: Stephen Parelli <sparelli2002@yahoo.com>; Jose Ortiz <bronzeprjo@hotmail.com>        
 

Dear Steve and Jose,

Doudou has given us the green light to publish
this article on Guangzhou.

Happy New Year!
Felix

                Other Sheep visits the LGBT Campus
                    Association in Guangzhou, China
                                     by Felix Liew

On the invitation of Other Sheep  (OS) director Stephen Parelli and OS coordinator for Asia Jose Ortiz,
and as Other Sheep’s correspondent for Asia, I came on board Other Sheep’s China tour in the summer
of 2010.

On July 12, 2010, from our base in Hong Kong, Stephen, Jose and I arrived at the southern gateway of
China, Shenzhen, where we took a train to the provincial capital of Guangzhou (formerly called Canton).
The next day we visited the Gay and Lesbian Campus Association, an LGBT campus outreach program
reaching out to young gay and lesbian university students in Guangzhou. This is the only organization of
its kind in China. Our experience there was awesome and fascinating.

The leader of the center is a young man in his 20s who goes by the nickname Doudou. He graciously
took us on a tour of the center before we started the presentation. It was a two-storey rented building
tucked away in a narrow alley in a quiet neighborhood in the southern section of Guangzhou’s University
Town. This location was chosen for its accessibility to the universities in the area. A declaration on a wall
mural reads in English:

    “Youths of Gay & Lesbian Association” “OPEN DIVERSE RESPECT TOLERANCE EQUAL” “We
    are gay and lesbian youth in our 20s studying in Guangzhou colleges and universities. We come
    together and become friends with a common goal to make better environment for ourselves. We
    have hope for a better future. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Two
    persons of the same gender can love each other. We have courage, and we are proud to
    embrace diversity. We will continue to fight against the injustice on people based on their sexual
    orientation and gender identity.”

Although they live in a country that idealizes communist values, these words reflect the profound insights
and understanding they have of each individual’s basic rights to equality and freedom of expression.

The Association aims to facilitate personal growth, provide social support, sexual health guidance, and
push for justice and equality for LGBT youths on campus.

According to Doudou, he founded this campus outreach program back in 2006 when he was a university
freshman. Together with a few gay mates, he organized a support group for young gay men that met
discreetly in the classroom. Three years later, a lesbian group was formed. A young lesbian woman who
goes by the name Ms Lee and who worked for a lesbian online radio show had heard about the Campus
Association. One day she invited Doudou to do an interview on her talk show. Subsequently they
became close friends and Ms Lee joined the group as a volunteer. Being the only girl among the gay
men, she felt the need to start a lesbian group which grew in one year’s time to include more than ten
young women. One of the ways the lesbian group keeps the community together is through a free
weekly text message service that feeds LGBT-related news. Straight allies are among the recipients of
this news service.   

It was not until 2009 that they raised enough funds to rent a permanent center to better serve gay and
lesbian youth. A gay interior designer helped design the place, and LGBT students volunteered to
renovate it over the course of three months. Many of the volunteers were Art majors and they
contributed paintings and art work to the center. The result was fantastic! The first floor has a reception
counter, a lounge area, and a reading area where a small collection of LGBT literature is kept. Free
literature is available for visitors to take away. On one side of the wall are hung historic pictures of LGBT
events and gay icons from China and Hong Kong. Next we were led upstairs to an activity room where
lectures, hobby classes, and art projects were held regularly. The center is open every day from 6:00
pm until 11:00 pm Monday to Friday, and from 1:00 pm to 11:00 pm on weekends.

In order to qualify for government funding, they registered as an NGO working in the area of HIV/AIDS
prevention, which is part of their program. However, because of the stigma attached to homosexuality,
funding has been limited.

At the time of our visit, the students were in the midst of their final exams, so Doudou could not get a
larger group together. Instead, we had an audience consisting mainly of the volunteers of the
organization, numbering about 13 to 17 young men and women, four of whom were non-volunteers from
the community. Steve and Jose talked about what Other Sheep did and how it worked globally. Then
they shared from PowerPoint slides a collection of coming out stories from East Africa on five levels,
namely the civil law, the school, the church or seminary, the family, and friends. This is significant to the
Chinese context in which gays and lesbians face difficulty finding self-affirmation and family acceptance,
more so among LGBT Christians in China. The presentation was followed by a question and answer
session. This is the most interesting part. Doudou had asked questions about the difference between
evangelicals and mainline churches, and how best to reach LGBT Christians who were struggling to
accept their own sexuality. A three-point strategy was recommended: (1) Show them that the Bible is not
against homosexuality, (2) Connect them with other LGBT Christians who have accepted themselves,
(3) Introduce to them gay Christian websites where resources are available. In response to Steve’s
comment that many Christian churches in China are forced to worship underground, a young woman in
the audience who identified as Baptist answered that it was no longer the case. Churches in China today
have become more open in certain places. This young woman had come out to her Baptist pastor
before her baptism, and the sympathetic pastor baptized her anyway after advising her to keep it to
herself. She asked us if homosexuality is a sin and how we should interpret the story of David and
Jonathan. She was given a copy of the book
The Children Are Free and a second copy to give to her
pastor..

We left the 13 remaining copies of the book with Doudou to be used as he saw fit, and shared the
handouts of the ex-gay paper in Chinese. I donated to the center the Chinese version of the books
God
Loves Gay People
and Long Live the Queers, both authored by Rev. Oyoung.

Doudou shared with me his concerns for the future of the Association. People need to be correctly
informed about queer theology. Leadership may change hands as students graduate and leave the city.
The challenges may seem insurmountable, but Doudou is optimistic about the future.

On its recent development, the Gay and Lesbian Campus Association of Guangzhou is launching a
public education program on the Sexual/Gender Diversity and Anti-discrimination of Sexual Minorities on
university campuses in Guangzhou. The program is held twice a year in some ten universities. Events
include film festivals, lectures, mini forums, seminars and workshops. The Association invites special
guest speakers from within China and abroad. These are renowned scholars, experts, community
activists, media personnel, and artists who are well-informed in the issues of homosexuality, sexual
orientation and gender identity. The Association aims to create diverse and inclusive campuses for
LGBT students, at the same time promoting goodwill and understanding between the university
administrations and LGBT community service providers.

The Association has recently held a seminar on the topic Family Relationships and Sexual Diversity to
educate the public on the importance of family acceptance for LGBT children. One of the guest
speakers was Dr. Caitlin Ryan from the USA, an expert on LGBT health, who highlighted the fact that the
rate of HIV infections and suicides in families that reject LGBT children are three times higher than those
that accept their gay sons and daughters, thus advocating family support as an effective means of HIV
prevention. Another speaker was Mama Wu, the mother of a gay son, a strong voice for the LGBT
community and the founder of PFLAG China (
Read her full story on the CNN website)  http://edition.cnn.
com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/11/16/mama.wu.homosexual.china/index.html).

Such a humble beginning, yet such tremendous impact! All it takes was an ordinary young man with a
big dream to make a better place for his fellow gay friends and a big heart to persevere in the face of
obstacles.


Editor's Note:

Click here for an interview with Doudou, founder of the LGBT Campus Association in Guangzhou,
China.by conduced by email, by Felix Liew, sometime following Other Sheep's visit to the Campus
Association on July 13, 2010
Felix Liew on the train
from Shenzhen to
Guangzhou, China.
July 12, 2010.
This report
was  written by
Felix Liew,
photo
at right.

About the LGBT Campus
Association in Guangzhou,
China

The Presentation that Other
Sheep gave to the Campus
Association, July 13, 2010

Recent developments with the
LGBT Campus Association in
Guangzhou, China
Above photo:
Building at the border (to Hong Kong);
on the Shenzhen, China, side.
Photo by Steve Parelli
Above:
Felix Liew taxiing from
subway station to our
meeting with the LGBT
college students

At right:
Creed on the walls of the
LGBT Campus Association

Below:
Felix Liew translating
Steve Parelli's presentation
Felix Liew translating
Felix Liew translating
Above Photo:
LGBT college students in their LGBT
center listening to an Other Sheep
presentation.  Felix translates (upper
left), seated next to Jose Ortiz (left of
Felix).  Not shown:  Steve Parelli
presenting.
Above and the three photos at the right:

"All I kept thinking of was the "we"  passages of the
book of Acts
."

If you're a seminarian reading this, perhaps you remember talking
about the "we" passages of the book of Acts.  Who wrote Acts?  
Was it Luke who was traveling with Paul who writes "we"  did this,
and "we" did that?

Felix, as you can see from this webpage, is a fantastic writer and
reporter.  Our trip into China would not have been possible or
successful without him.

And because of his "writing" ability and the record he made of the
trip, all I could think of was just like Luke in Acts; just like the "we"
passages of Acts.  
                                                 Steve Parelli
Left to right:  Jose Ortiz, Steve Parelli, and Felix Liew.  Shenzhen,China.  July 15, 2011
Left to right:
Felix, Steve and
Jose.  
Guangzhou,
China, July 15,
2010
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真的有 “前同志”这回事吗?
本文乃一则针对美国基督教福音派前同志运动的评估,
内容取自作者作为一名 “前同志”  的亲身经历和一些前同运领导之著作.
作者: Stephen Parelli (神学硕士, Other Sheep"其他羊群”执行总监)
网站: www.othersheepexecsite.com, www.othersheep.org
2006年6月
Associated Gay/Les Campus, Guangzhou

Web link: http://blog.sina.com.cn/msmteam
or http://blog.sina.com.cn/friendsteam