A pioneer of male pole dancing in Hong Kong wants to use his growing popularity to promote LGBT visibility in his home country.
Leon Yee, 23, gave up his studies as a chef after he was introduced to pole dancing by a friend.
‘When I’m dancing, it feels like flying,’ he told the South China Morning Post.
‘It feels so right to do something that everyone says is wrong. But you know it’s healthy.
‘Four years ago, I wasn’t like myself today. I was a typical Hong Kong teen. I would stay at home playing video games, eat junk food.
‘I thought I was just another fat gay kid. When I picked up pole dancing, I thought maybe this was my moment for personal growth.’
Yee who now has 3000 pole dance students of his own across Hong Kong realized he was gay when he was 11 years old.
His star is definitely rising after being recruited to collaborate with Hypebeast and Diesel in a campaign called Make Love Not Walls.
It does get better
Yee said even though people have misconceptions about his profession and sexuality, things are changing for LGBT people.
‘I think people are more accepting of the fact that there’s a lot more queer and LGBT people, especially in Asia,’ he said.
‘You have Taiwan which is being very progressive. You have Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia which have always had a third gender and different kinds of gender expression, and it’s coming towards central Asia more.
‘People are understanding pole dancing as a fun and physically demanding sport.’