Parents of gay singles kicked out of ‘marriage market’ after their children are branded ‘abnormal’

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A group of mothers of LGBT people were kicked out of Shanghai’s famous “marriage market” after trying to find partners for their single children.

It was the first time that LGBT individuals were “advertised” at the popular market that takes place in People’s Park.

The women were holding rainbow umbrellas with a picture of their children and all the details deemed necessary for marriage – height, salary, age and education.

Marriage market
Photo by Sixth Tone

However, they were asked to leave by security officers after many people started protesting their presence, Sixth Tone reports.

“LGBT issues shouldn’t be a public display. Their choice is wrong and is against Chinese values,” a protester said.

Others started calling LGBT people “abnormal”.

The mothers tried to shut down the protestors with a simple response.

Dong Wanwan said: “If parents of straight people can be here, parents of gay people can also be here.

“We have every right to be here. I’m here to find a boyfriend for my son.”

Police officers asked the women to leave under the pretext that they did not register an “advertising event”.

Under Chinese law, the parents were supposed to register the event with the police because they were also distributing educational fliers on LGBT issues that carried company brands.

“It’s quite common that police use the no-registration as an excuse to disperse these kind of activities or events,” said James Yang, program officer at the United Nations Development Program’s Being LGBTI in Asia project.

However, he added that when LGBT groups tried to get permission to hold similar events in the past it was not granted.

The mothers received plenty of support from many on Chinese social media.

One Weibo user wrote: “This is very heart-melting to me. While the majority of the public sees these mothers as lunatics, they are doing something brave for their daughters.

“Choices of sexual orientation are personal and why can’t we accept their choices.”

Another said: “I hope people can treat gays and lesbians as normal. And I hope there is a day when my partner and I can hold hands in public.”

Every week, the market hosts a number of parents who hope to find their children a suitable partner for marriage.

Although gay rights in China have progressed in recent years, LGBT people still regularly face discrimination, including in Hong Kong.

A recent study also showed that more than half of the Chinese LGBT community had no plans to come out in the next five years, with many giving family pressures and public perception of gay people as the main reason.