Chinese parents learn to accept gay children

As homosexuality is taking roots among the Chinese youths, more and more parents in this Communist nation are learning to accept it as a reality and live with it.

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2010, 18:20 PM IST

Beijing: As homosexuality is taking roots
among the Chinese youths, more and more parents in this
Communist nation are learning to accept it as a reality and
live with it.

Li Baba could not believe it when a psychologist told
him 10 years ago that his son, then in high school, is gay.

"At that time, I thought homosexuality is what
hooligans do. My son was a nice boy, how could this be
possible?"

The psychologist referred him to a therapist in north
China`s Tianjin Municipality to "treat his son`s
homosexuality".

After the treatment, Li`s son suffered prolonged
depression, fits of agitation and other mental problems.

"Don`t try to fix your child`s homosexuality. It can`t
be changed. Treatment only cause more problems," white-haired
Li told official Xinhua news agency.

His wife, also in her sixties, wept in silence by the
side, as the man told other parents of gays or lesbians about
the story.

About two hundred people, who are gays or lesbians,
along with their parents, gathered in a small conference room
in a modest hotel in Beijing this weekend to call for family
acceptance and support for gay people.

Lesbian Xiao Ying regrets that she came out of the
closet too quickly when, at age 19, she told her mother.

Her mother took her to doctors and kept a close watch
on her so that she could not meet her lover. Now, after nine
years, her mother remains firm on the issue.

"It only got worse when my mother converted from
Buddhism to Christianity," Xiao said.

"Live your life and I`ll live mine," the single parent
of Xiao said when the daughter tried to invite her to the gay
parents` gathering.

"I didn`t hope to win her support from here, because
it would be unrealistic. I only wanted her to get to know
about the community," Xiao said.

Gay people, whose families are often extreme in their
rejection of homosexuality, are three times more likely to
contract HIV and eight times more likely to attempt suicide
compared to those who are well accepted by their families,
said Caitlin Ryan, a researcher with San Francisco State
University, on the basis of facts of his 30-year research
study in the United States.

Also, Wu Youjian, 63, organiser of the gathering, has
heard many tragedies from her hotline, which seeks to help
families accept their gay children`s sexuality.

She listens to their confusion, anger and regrets
three nights a week.

PTI