A student unions' "sex orientation equality" proposal has been approved by the Zhuhai Campus of Sat Yat-sen University, a prestigious university in South China.
The union, called "Happy Together", is an academic, volunteer union concerned with homosexuality. The union organizes activities such as watching movies, salons, lectures and queer art exhibitions in order to eliminate sexual discrimination, promote sex orientation equality and AIDS education.
The name of the union in Chinese means "Rainbow Union", which comes from the rainbow flag - a symbol of human rights equality for homosexuals.
Rainbow flag hanging on the teaching building [www.ycwb.com]
The union was originally a reading group
In origin, the union was a reading group that studied queer theory which focuses on gay and lesbian issues. The group, called "Queer Study Group" was founded in 2005 by Ai Xiaoming, the famous feminist, and Sat Yat-sen University's Chinese language teacher.
Ai Xiaoming, the famous feminist, and Sat Yat-sen
University's Chinese language teacher. [www.ycwb.com]
The group estimates 50 activists, including students from Ms. Ai's course "Women, Sexuality and Culture Emersion" and others who are concerned about sexual minorities. Over the past year, the group has organized a series of activities including a homosexual academic forum, movies with homosexual themes, promotion of AIDS protection and goodwill events with a few homosexual organizations.
Activists holding an activity. [www.ycwb.com]
The union was misunderstood as a homosexual organization
The "Queer Study Group" encountered obstacles when organizing campus activities and began to think about applying to become a formal union. It only took one month from application to formal registration.
Chairwoman Liao Mingzhu is quoted as saying that they were "Psychologically prepared, as it was expected to take a long time, since there is never a student union approval in mainland universities. However, the successful registration proves that Sat Yat-sen University is quite open."
In contrast to the university, some people in society consider the union to be a homosexual organization.
"Whether our members are homosexual or not is a private matter. There is no need for them to divulge such information. Our enrollment is aimed at those who are keen on the union's activities or have an academic interest in its issues " Liao said.
(by Jessie, Alan Devey)