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An increasing number of gay people in China are thinking of coming out

China’s ‘Pink Market’ is estimated to be worth $145billion – but some gay people are still feeling pressure from families to stay in the closet

gay people in China
Doctorho | Commons – Hong Kong Pride Parade 2014

The results of the third, annual China LGBT Community Report have been announced, and they reveal progress with regards to attitudes towards LGBT rights in the country.

China is the most populated country in the world, with just under 1.4 billion inhabitants. The size of its LGBT population is estimated to be between 70million and 140million.

In terms of consumer spending power, the report’s authors say China’s ‘Pink Market’ is estimated to be more than 2 trillion RMB, or $145billion (€135billion).

Despite this, attitudes veer towards the traditional, and many gay people are susceptible to pressure from families to adopt a heterosexual lifestyle, marry and produce grandchildren.

Key findings in this year’s report include:

  • More LGB people plan to come out: 22% of gay and bisexual men and 12% of lesbian and bisexual women plan to tell no-one about their identity in the next five years, versus 30% of men and 16% of women last year.
  • More gay people are desiring same-sex marriage: 54% of men and 65% of women said that same-sex marriage was their ‘ideal relationship’, compared to just 40% of men and 44% of women a year ago.
  • Same-sex marriage is not legal in China, but an increasing number of gay people in the country said that they would consider wedding abroad, even if it cost money to do so: 58% of men and 75% of women willing to pay 40,000 to 60,00 RMB to wed abroad.
  • Pressure from family remains pressure remains the biggest concern (70%) for those who are part of the LGBT community.
  • 56% of men and 62% of women said that a company’s support for LGBT friendly policies and laws was the most important factor that influenced their purchasing decisions – more so than if the company advertised in LGBT media. This would suggest they want the corporate world to do more to push for LGBT rights.
  • Lesbian/gay/bisexual women tend to visit LGBT websites, blogs, mobile apps and dating apps slightly more than gay and bisexual men. Women were more likely to be ‘out’ about their sexuality compared to men.

Details of the survey were released Monday at the third Annual China Pink Market Conference at the Langham Xintiandi Hotel Shanghai.

The event was put together by a coalition of organizations, including local LGBT advocacy group WorkForLGBT, Dan Lan/Blued (a popular men’s dating app), Rela (a women’s dating app), and Weber Shandwick. The report, which surveyed 20,000 respondents online, was put together with help from YouGov,

Of the 20,000 respondents, approximately 17,000 identified as LGBT and 3,000 as non-LGBT.

Commenting on the findings, WorkForLGBT founder Steven Paul Bielinski, said, ‘A record number of LGBT people in China are planning to share their identity with more family, friends and co-workers in the coming years, see same-sex marriage as their ideal relationship status, and are looking for companies to voice support for LGBT friendly programs and policies.’

Last year, Geng Le, Founder and CEO of Dan Lan, in an effort to raise awareness around same-sex marriage, organized a competition to fly ten same-sex couples to California to enjoy symbolic marriage ceremonies.

In a statement, he said that the survey, which also looked a tourism and online trends, was important in mapping changing attitudes and identifying the needs of China’s large LGBT communities – as well as noting their economic power.

‘We’re looking forward to using real world data to help companies, the media, and the public realize the diversity in society and the needs of this community. By putting to use the forces of business we advance both social progress and development.’

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