Openly gay still taboo in China's workplaces

Updated: 2013-12-30 10:38

By Yu Ran in Shanghai (China Daily)

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Openly gay still taboo in China's workplaces

Being gay in China 

Openly gay still taboo in China's workplaces

My child is … gay 

Based on his experience and that of his partner, he said foreign companies create more inclusive workplaces than Chinese enterprises.

"The problem is very few entrepreneurs in China realize how essential it is to enhance employee efficiency by providing an open-minded office atmosphere," Hu said.

However, he said, even some foreign companies with LGBT policies in head offices overseas have not been able to successfully export the concept to China.

"There are points in the HR rules from our office in the United States about providing LGBT people with a good working environment, but we haven't put it in the version for Chinese employees," conceded Susie Zheng, a HR manager in Shanghai for a Forbes 500 company.

"LGBT people are not very visible here," she said, adding that it would be hard to create an appropriate working environment for LGBT individuals as the stereotype they are "abnormal" still remains.

A poll this month of 3,400 people in 34 cities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Public Opinion Research Center had almost 70 percent of respondents answering that they are against homosexuality.

Marriage pressure

That situation means many gay people are unwilling to come out.

According to the Aibai poll, only 6 percent of respondents said they are totally open about their sexuality, while 47 percent said they keep it completely hidden.

"There is an assumption of heterosexuality, so few people are openly gay," consultant Yik said.

Families also tend to put enormous pressure on offspring to get married and have children, especially after the implementation of China's one-child policy.

"The pressure to get married and procreate is strong for gay men, as they carry the family name," said Kevin Burns, another program manager at Community Business Ltd. "But lesbians feel the heat, too, as many are also the only child and parents rely on them."

He said change should begin with a small step for enterprises to be aware of talented LGBT employees, who deserve more understanding and support.

Attitudes toward the LGBT population in urban areas are changing, and a visible increase in public discussions on LGBT issues has been observed in the past 20 years.

While public pride parades are taking place in cities across the world, LGBT individuals in China often lack opportunities to celebrate diversity or openly embrace gay life. However, the 2013 International Day Against Homophobia saw more than 30 events take place nationwide, some of them relatively high profile.

"With greater public opinion posed to support the LGBT population continuously in China, hopefully more LGBT individuals will be encouraged to walk out of the closet proudly without being troubled in the near future," said attorney Zhou Dan with Shanghai Shaogang Law Firm.

Although, he added, without laws to protect gay rights, the LBGT community will continue to face discrimination.

Wang Hongyi contributed to this story.


Help me out of the closet

At work, the corporate culture is what matters

LGBT students deal with bullying


Previous Page 1 2 Next Page