Larry’s View

Larry’s view on any and everything.

mum, dad, i’m gay

articlepic
 
January 7, 2008
mum, dad, i’m gay
By Dinah Gardner
 
What’s next for parents? Increasingly in China, parents of gay children are not only accepting their sexuality but trying to help other families in the same situation support each other, Dinah Gardner reports.
 
 
Every Chinese queer teen must dread the thought of coming out to the parents. A face off with the demon force of 2,000 years of Confucian traditions is no joke. While China is blessed with a largely secular nation – there is little right wing Christian or Islamic homophobia for instance – mainland parents dream of their offspring getting hitched and carrying on the family name with a child of their own. A gay son or daughter is an unwelcome spanner in the works that can bring on anything from tears to the outright severance of family ties. No wonder so many lesbians and gays keep their sexuality under wraps and even get married to fulfil familial obligations – the ultimate sacrifice.

So when 18-year-old Zheng Yuantao in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou told his mother he liked boys, he must have been delighted by her reaction. Wu Youjian didn’t cry, introduce him to hot women or disown him. Instead she taught herself how to use a computer, got herself a Sina blog, and put their story online in the hope she could help other gay and lesbian children come out to their parents. In just six months her site had clocked up 100,000 hits and she had earned the affection of hundreds of gays and lesbians who now call her Auntie Wu.

Wu, a writer and editor by profession and a self-confessed liberal, said she found it easy to deal with her son’s sexuality because by the time, “Yuantao came out to me… I had read a lot of gay-themed books and movies (by his recommendation). Besides he had also been a good boy in school and in the family; he never made us worried.”

And therein lies the key, she says. If you want to come out to your parents do some groundwork first and feed your parents information on what being gay is all about before coming out to them. “Always make sure your parents have some understanding and acceptance of homosexuality before coming out to them,” she advises.

“Coming out to younger, trustworthy members of the family first might also help.” It also helps if you work hard in school and, in all ways, are an exemplary son or daughter.

“Just make sure you’re well behaved [and a good student],” she says. This “can hopefully give you more credit when you try to convince your parents that you are gay and it’s fine.” But, Wu adds, not all gay children should feel they have to tell their family their sexuality. “If the parent-child relationship hasn’t been close then I don’t think they should tell.”

Of course it helps if your parents are bohemian. But their story is not an isolated case. Now, increasingly in China, parents of gay children are not only accepting their sexuality but trying to help other families in the same situation support each other.

articlepic
When Wu Youjian’s was told by her son that he’s gay, she started a blog (top) to write about their experience in the hope she could help other gay and lesbian children come out to their parents. Similarly for Sun Dehua, who went from wanting to literally kill him to launching a hotline for parents to help them understand their gay children. Click on the link below to read article on Sun in the South china Morning Post.

In 2001, when Sun Dehua – 58-year-old-farmer in China’s northeastern city of Dalian – found out his only son was shacked up with his boyfriend, he literally wanted to kill him. Sun was quoted as saying in the South china Morning Post in an interview published in 2005 that he had even bought a can of petrol with the intention of blowing a gay bar which his son, Mu, had owned and operated in Dalian. It was only after his son and partner fled the city that his father reconsidered his position after his son’s friends mediated the situation. He got to know more of his son’s gay friends and began reading some of the free material in his son’s bar (where he also worked) on homosexuality and HIV prevention.

“I learned that my son is not mentally ill. It was my fault that I didn’t know my own son well enough before.”

In September 2006, he started China’s first hotline to help parents understand their gay children. He has also become involved as a volunteer to raise HIV/AIDS awareness among the local gay community.

He was quoted as saying in the Post: “I am really glad seeing them together, because Mu is so happy when he’s with him (his son’s boyfriend). Now it feels like I have two sons. And I do hope the law will allow them to get married one day.”

Wu also encourages parents to do their homework on what being gay is all about.

“They should seek to find out what science says about homosexuality,” she says.

“Science can rid them of this unreasonable fear. I feel comfortable that my son is gay because I know being gay is not a crime… or a disgrace.” At the end of the day your child’s happiness is more important than carrying on the family name, she says.

On her blog, 60-year-old Wu offers encouraging words to gays and lesbians struggling with their sexuality and dispenses advice on everything from boyfriend/girlfriend troubles to how to deal with parental pressure to have a conventional marriage. She says she values how far-reaching the web can be.

“I can actually use my blog to connect to people and express my views – encouraging society and families to accept homosexuality.”

She has a lot of fans on her site. Many gays and lesbians find her articles and advice a comforting resource. “Auntie Wu, you are so great!,” writes one blogger.

“It must be great to be your son. My mother left me when I was seven years old. I cannot imagine what she would think if she knows I am gay.”

Not everyone is so appreciative. Homophobes also find their way onto her blog. “”Even animals don’t have gay sex,” writes one angry blogger.

“Don’t you have any shame? Go to hell!” Wu told Chinese media that she sometimes deletes hateful comments but leaves others just to create some controversy.

Their situation attracted the attention of local media. Two years ago the mother and son team appeared on a Nanfang TV talk show. Wu says she was initially worried about appearing on the show.

“I hesitated, because here, in this city [Guangzhou], there are a lot people who know me and what would they think of me if they knew my son is gay. But later, I thought there was nothing wrong with my son to love boys, I am his mother. I am supposed to stand by him.” She adds that after the show aired she became a minor celebrity. “Even taxi drivers recognised me and encouraged me.” ae

 
Related Sites
Wu Youjian’s blog (in Chinese)
Dalian Rainbow work group (in Chinese)
Father’s path from pain to acceptance of gay son (South china Morning Post, PDF)
Advertisements

January 7, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, Gay General, Gay Issue & Rights-Overseas | Leave a comment

what lies behind siu cho’s struggle in RTHK case

articlepic
 
January 4, 2008
what lies behind siu cho’s struggle in RTHK case
By Nigel Collett
 
Following the Broadcasting Authority’s ruling that a programme discussing same-sex marriage is “biased towards homosexuality” and that future programmes may be required to include anti-gay views, Joseph Cho who appeared in the programme has sought a judicial review of the matter. Civil Rights for Sexual Diversities’ Nigel Collett highlights the implications of the outcome of the case.
 
 
Hong Konger Joseph Cho Man-kit (Siu Cho to his friends, of whom there is a growing number) is about to get his judicial review of the Broadcasting Authority’s censure of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) over its programme Hong Kong Connection – Gay Lovers. The review has wide implications and is an important one for the gay community in Hong Kong, so before launching into a discussion of the issues it raises, let us remind ourselves of the story, which Fridae.com has reported on several times since it broke.

articlepic
The Broadcasting Authority ruled that an episode of the RTHK-produced series Hong Kong Connection – featuring Joseph Cho Man-kit and well-known lesbian activist-couple Connie Chan (left) and Wei Siu-lik – was ‘’unfair, partial and biased towards homosexuality, and having the effect of promoting the acceptance of homosexual marriage.’’

Siu Cho, who is a 26-year-old PhD student researching gender studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, appeared with two well known activist lesbian partners, Connie Chan and Wei Siu-lik, on the Jade Channel on 9 July 2006 in a show which aired the issues surrounding gay and lesbian partnerships in Hong Kong. The programme was an innocuous, even a quietly charming one and contained no graphic scenes or matter likely to offend any but the most religiously intolerant. All three participants spoke of their lives directly to the camera and appeared openly under their own names. The fact that the programme was so restrained, and that the three had the temerity to even appear to be happy, upset some of Hong Kong’s Christian fundamentalists, who would prefer it that all gays and lesbians be portrayed as sad cases living unstable and unhealthy lifestyles. Twenty-two of these fanatics complained to the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) that the programme had ‘discriminated against them’ as it did not show the happily partnered gays dying of AIDS and as no Christian group had been invited on the programme to put a contrary view. TELA threw out these complaints and upheld RTHK’s editorial right to choose the content of its programmes. One of the complainants then appealed to the Broadcasting Authority, which, in a press release on 20 January this year, upheld part of the complaints and ruled that RTHK had breached the Generic Code governing their operations. Their press release said that:

“The programme was presented in the form of a documentary and that the contents of the programme about homosexuality and the legalization of homosexual marriage were controversial in many societies including Hong Kong. The programme was therefore a factual programme dealing with matters of public policy or controversial issues of public importance in Hong Kong and should be subject to the impartiality rule under the relevant code. However, the programme presented only the merits of homosexual marriage and featured only the views of three homosexuals on the legislation of homosexual marriage, rendering the presentation unfair, partial and biased towards homosexuality and having the effect of promoting the acceptance of homosexual marriage.”

The programme had in no way ‘promoted’ anything, so RTHK objected to this ruling. However, despite the fact that it is clear that the Broadcasting Authority was applying a stricter line than that called for in the Generic Code which governs broadcasters’ activities (the Code does not require absolute neutrality, but allows editorial judgment), and the certain fact that the Code does not stipulate the inclusion of opposing viewpoints on every programme, RTHK did not appeal to the Executive Council. This it was their right to have done, but one factor which must have weighed in their decision not to appeal was the political pressure brought to bear on them by Joseph Wong, Secretary (Minister, in effect) for Commerce, Industry and Technology, and himself an ex officio Executive Council member. His portfolio includes broadcasting and he took it upon himself to meet the RTHK Director of Broadcasting to ‘show his concern’ and to frame Chu’s refusal to issue a ‘repentance’ statement as defying the memorandum signed between RTHK and the Broadcasting Authority on programming guidelines. In the face of this, RTHK can be forgiven for thinking that an appeal to Exco would not have been worth the bother. It did, though, refuse a request by the Broadcasting Authority to broadcast some representative anti-gay comment.

The issue was taken up by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council in March this year, when Legco’s Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting held a session to examine the matter. After hearing testimony from all sides, they concluded that:

“This Panel considers that the decision of the Broadcasting Authority concerning the episode entitled Homosexual Lovers in “Hong Kong Connection” of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) is in fact discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.”

They went on to urge the Broadcasting Authority to withdraw its decision. The Broadcasting Authority ignored the Panel, claiming that it had no power to reverse its decision. So, the ruling stands. What it means in effect is that RTHK, and all other broadcasters, will be obliged to include some representative of the anti-gay lobby in every documentary programme mentioning LGBT subjects.

There things would have stood had it not been for the bravery of Siu Cho, who decided to fight. Initially, he tried all administrative routes of redress: an online petition to the Chief Executive with about 2000 signatures received no reply. The fundamentalists organised a counter petition and, at a conference they called in June, boasted that they outnumbered Siu Cho’s supporters. The Broadcasting Authority was petitioned, of course to no effect. The Ombudsman was approached, however the Ombudsman had no powers to intervene since the Broadcasting Authority is simply excluded from the list of organizations to which the Ombudsman Ordinance applies, while TELA is on the same list. The reason of such exclusion is unknown.

Complaints to the Equal Opportunities Commission would get nowhere in the absence of any legislation against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. A submission to the Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Unit, established in the Home Affairs Bureau in 2005 to ‘actively promote equal opportunities for gays, lesbians and transgender persons’ (as the Hong Kong Government put it in its obligatory report to the United Nations) was merely ‘actively’ forwarded to the Broadcasting Authority.

Eventually, only an application for a judicial review was left, an impossibility had not Hong Kong’s legal system remained free enough to rule that the issue was of sufficient public importance to warrant the grant of legal aid. Such, thankfully, it did, and with the help of his solicitor, Michael Vidler, who recently helped Billy Leung overturn one of Hong Kong’s discriminatory criminal buggery/sodomy laws, and barrister Hector Pun Hei, who has been involved in the conservationist fight to save Queen’s Pier, Siu Cho has been granted legal aid to challenge the Broadcasting Authority’s ruling in the courts. The date of the review is yet to be announced but it will be soon. The case will be fought by the Government and is expected to be a long one.

The implications of all this are wider than they seem. This is not some obscure dispute about a single programme and a TV broadcaster’s code of ethics. This is a major issue of media freedom and religious-inspired censorship. What has also become clear since January 2007 is that the Broadcasting Authority’s ruling is in danger of becoming Hong Kong’s equivalent to Britain’s notorious section 28 (of the Local Government Act) which, enacted by Margaret Thatcher’s government to ban the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ in schools and other institutions, in effect banned any discussion of the subject at all. ‘A similar chilling effect is visible now in Hong Kong,’ says Siu Cho, who has personal experience of this already. Interviewed by me recently, he said that he had been invited to appear on an Cable TV programme in January, but that, after the Broadcasting Authority ruling, Cable TV felt itself compelled to invite a fundamentalist to take part. As a result, Siu Cho withdrew. In another case in which he has been involved personally, a government social worker delayed, then effectively shelved, an invitation to Siu Cho and others to share their experiences with a public audience. The man had been subjected to pressure from a superior who feared that, after the Broadcasting Authority ruling, the Hong Kong Government, who were his employers, would accuse him of ‘promoting’ homosexuality.

In such dry bureaucratic processes are the seeds of censorship nurtured. Of course, we have no real way of telling why the Broadcasting Authority’s members acted and continue to act the way they do. This case does, though, raise the issues of the criteria for the appointment of members to such statutory bodies and the way Government appointees have been found repeatedly attempting to impose their own moral codes within their spheres of responsibility. In this case, as with the case of the 2005 appointment of the Society for Truth and Light to teach ‘human rights’ to school teachers, where civil servants in the Education and Manpower Bureau issued almost identical statements to those of the fundamentalists, we seem to see some partiality towards the fundamentalist right lurking in corners of the Government and its appointed organs. This is a partiality which is much in evidence in Hong Kong’s often religiously sponsored schools. It may not be coincidental, here, that one member of the Broadcasting Authority is a headmaster in a church secondary school.

What underlies this issue is a concerted attempt by the fundamentalist activists in bodies such as the Society for Truth and Light and New Creation to infiltrate the views they derive from their interpretation of the Christian faith into all discourse on LGBT issues. This is not something new. Some years back, New Creation persuaded the Hong Kong Government to include them in meetings of the Sexual Minority Forum, a body set up to provide liaison between the LGBT communities and the Home Affairs Bureau (now the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau). They did so on the spurious grounds that they represented a ‘minority within a minority’, the gay people who didn’t want to be gay. Now, all discussion between the LGBT communities and the Government includes, and of course is monitored by, the Christian right, which is doing all in its power to prevent those discussions bearing any fruit at all. Continually now, in the Hong Kong press, advocates of these groups demand to be given the right to air their prejudices every time any LGBT issue is debated. They do so, of course, to be enabled to continue to exercise their ‘right’ to discriminate. They do so that, even if it is no longer legally possible in Hong Kong to put all gays and lesbians back in the closet, all discussion of issues concerning them can be locked up there instead. The Hong Kong Government, or at least several large parts of it, seems to have swallowed these arguments and has given these organisations not only credence but public funding to spread their views. The Society for Truth and Light, for instance, runs courses in our secondary schools, courses on which it hands out pre-printed forms of complaint for the students to send to Government departments about any broadcast they dislike. Forms, it would seem, which are likely to have been paid for by the taxpayer.

So, the issues are clear. In seeking this judicial review, Siu Cho is fighting not only for the freedom of the press to examine and comment uncensored upon LGBT issues. He is also striking a blow against the growing attempt by the Christian right to manipulate Government policy and to insert itself into every debate upon LGBT rights. His action is a major part of the ongoing struggle in Hong Kong to have a law enacted against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, for this will never happen without open and informed public debate. It is clear that a great deal hangs on the results of this review, much that affects us all. The next few months of legal argument will set the parameters for public debate on LGBT issues in Hong Kong for some time to come. We will watch with more than interest.

This guest column was written by Nigel Collett for Hong Kong’s Civil Rights for Sexual Diversities (www.cr4sd.org), a NGO working for the rights of people who may be disadvantaged by the law, policies and social prejudices in Hong Kong because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual expression. The column will be written by founding member Roddy Shaw and various writers.

Nigel Collett is an English biographer and businessman living in Hong Kong. Author of several books, including The Butcher of Amritsar, he has written for GMagazine and reviews for the Asian Review of Books. He is a moderator for the Hong Kong Man International Literary Festival. ae

 
Related Articles
news around the world 14-mar-07
news around the world 24-jan-07
Related Sites
Radio Television Hong Kong
 

January 7, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, Gay General, Gay Issue & Rights-Overseas | Leave a comment

Cordless skype phones with speaker phone

In the following article, I would like to take the time to tell you about the cordless Skype phones with speaker phone. One of the reasons that I would like to tell you about the cordless Skype phones that also have speaker phone is because of the fact that there are so many different types of phones that are out there on the market today that if you are not able to go out and look around on a normal basis you may not be aware of all the changes that are taking place when it comes to technology.
The cordless Skype phone with speaker phone that I would like to tell you about first is known as the DUALPhone 3088 in which there is no personal computer required. This is known to also be a two in one phone in which it can be sued for VoIP calls as well as standard PSTN phone and there is no computer that is actually required. This particular phone is Skype compatible as well as Skype Certified and if you are a business there are times when you will be able to get special discounts as well when you order in bulk because there are special programs that are in place for the corporate customers. With this phone all you have to do is connect the DUALphone base to your actual broadband connection and then you will be able to talk free of charge with your friends and family that also have Skype.
There is a special fee that will be applied in relationship to the calls that you make to your friends and family that don’t have Skype. With this phone you will also be able to download information right from your very own phone so therefore you will be able to have the phone of tomorrow today. There are many people out there that have different opinions about the phone so if you are interested in purchasing the phone you are going to want to make sure that you take the time to get online and check out some of the reviews that the phone has got. I am not saying that this is not a good phone to use but it is one that you should take your time with as well as any other product that you are considering buying as well.

January 7, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll | Leave a comment

Skype alternative

In the following article, I would like to take the time to tell you about a Skype alternative. In this article, I would like to tell you about the VoIPStunt. In all actuality, VoIPStunt is known to be considered as international VoIP service that is actually based in Germany. However, It is also known that it actually works in an individual manner that is similar or almost exactly alike Skype; the reason that it is similar to Skype is because of the fact that it possesses a soft phone application that is actually installable on an individual computer as well as a service that can actually be obtained online as well.
It is known that VoIPStunt has actually been able to gain some forms of popularity lately because of the fact that they are actually among the soft phone users based on the free calls that are made to the landline phones which is known as PSTN over what are known as some common or reasonable destinations. There are websites that will give you a list of the individual countries in which you are able to call for free. So I bet you are wondering by now how free is actually free. Well when you are using VoIPStunt you will learn that you can actually make calls that are to landline phones in the countries that are known as free destinations however it is known that these calls can only last for one minute. The reason that VoIPStunt gave for this is because it is logical because everyone that is in business needs to be able to make money.
Well when you take this into consideration you will find that Skype doesn’t charge for calls that are placed to the other users of Skype however they take the time to charge you a small fee when you call landlines as well as mobile phones. VoIPStunt is known to be the same all but the fact that they give you the ability to make a one minute call to landlines in specific places that are considered to be a destination countries. If you are interested in learning more about the Skype alternative, you can go online and look up information about anything that you would like to know about the Skype alternative, but you need to make sure that the information that you are requesting is accurate as well as up to date because you don’t want to make the mistake of getting incorrect information.

January 7, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll | Leave a comment

Skype gateway

In the following article, I would like to take the time to tell you about the Skype Gateway. As you may or may not know that STONEVOICE has been able to develop SKYSTONE which is known as a particular type of software that is actually based on the Skype gateway that actually interconnects to any IP telephony solution as well as any traditional PBX to the actual Skype world. It is known to be a true converging solution that is known for using the standard protocols that are known as the SIP as well as the H.323 that are actually use to interoperate with the actual PBX’s as well as an individual Skype connection to the actual Skype community.
It is known that the first among the IP PBX solutions is the Cisco Unified Communication solution which is known to be supported by the actual Skystone. It is known that the actual goal that is the most important is known to be the ability to make sure that each and everyone of the users that are located in the company will actually be able to call as well as the pstn phone or the actual Skype account that is taken from the IP phone.
To give you a basic introduction you should know that the actual market is known to be facing what is known as a sharp technology transition from the type of traditional TDM which is known as Time Division Multiplexing which is actually based on the telephony systems to the actual IP Telephony that is known to be taking place at the actual full stream that is located all over the place. It is known that this brings the actual companies to have many advantages that are known to be located among the convergence as well as the simplicity and the cost reduction not to mention the computer telephony.
If you are interested in learning more about this, you should be able to find all of the information that you need to know on the internet because of the fact that it is actually the number on source for information when it comes to anything that is related to Skype. There are many different websites that you can choose to use as a resource in finding the information but you need to make sure that you are able to get accurate as well as up to date information.

January 7, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll | Leave a comment

Skype emoticons

In the following article I would like to take the time to tell you about the Skype emoticons. As you may already know, emoticons can actually add a sense of humor as well as feeling to the chats that you have with your friends and your family. There is one thing for sure and that is that a picture can actually speak a thousand different words and by Skype giving you the ability to use the emoticons you will be able to send the emoticons as well as the small pictures in the chats that you make so that you are able to show the person that you are talking to just how you really feel without having to say a word. There are many different ways for you to show how you feel, so Skype has made sure that you have several different emoticons to choose from so that you are able to actually tell the other just how you feel.
There are basically two reasons in which you will use an emoticon, one reason is to show how you are actually feeling or to say what you really want to say and the second reason is so that you are able to actually add a little fun to the conversation that you are having. There are many different emoticons that you can choose from so there is certainly one for every situation. There are a couple of things that you should keep in mind when you are chatting to someone else. The first thing that you should remember is that you should never type something that could be used against you or that you don’t want someone else to see that the message was not intended for. Yes, Skype has done everything in its power to make sure that you are protected from people getting your personal information, but there is always a chance that someone out there is smarter and they know how to work their way around the security settings.
There are also times when the other person that you are talking to will actually save the messages that you have sent and they will use it at a time when you are fussing or have had a disagreement. There are many different situations that you can find your self in so make sure that you take the steps that are necessary so that you are able to protect yourself from all of that.

January 7, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll | 1 Comment