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In a country where homosexuality remains a big taboo, a short film urging parents in China to accept their gay children has gone viral and notched up more than 100 million online views.
Coming Home tells the story of a young gay man who is shunned by his parents after coming out, before eventually being accepted by them years later.
The movie, produced by PFLAG China, named after the American organization PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), has received more than 106 million clicks on China’s QQ video streaming site, which is owned by online giant Tencent.
Coming Home was launched to coincide with China’s Lunar New Year’s holiday this week, when families traditionally gather all over the country in much the same way as they do in the U.S. at Thanksgiving.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997, and in the early 2000’s it was removed from the list of mental illnesses. But there is a deeply held Chinese belief that children are required to marry and bear offspring to continue the family line, which means homosexuality is still heavily stigmatized. Because of this, the Chinese New Year family gathering can be a harrowing experience for gays and lesbians.
The film features mothers of LGBT people urging kids to come out and communicate with their parents.
“Don’t think of the love of your parents as a burden,” says one, while another one says: “Be brave and be yourself. Tell your parents your experiences, and we will share with you.” Another mother says over rolling credits: “Don’t let traditional thinking stop you from coming home.”
China may be a Communist country, but you are just as likely to hear references to “comrade” in a gay bar as you are at a party meeting, as “comrade” is common slang for “homosexual.”
PFLAG China was established in Guangzhou in 2008 and now runs chapters, support groups and counseling services across China.
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Santa Barbara International Film Festival