Having made headlines last year with mainland China’s first public LGBT event, including an unprecedented front-page story on China Daily, the government’s English-language mouthpiece and perhaps its first public acknowledgement and tacit endorsement of LGBT life, ShanghaiPRIDE’s second go was in danger of being cancelled so as not to conflict with the all-encompassing Expo 2010. (2009’s inaugural event was in the traditional Pride month of June.) But say xie xie for the fortitude of the mixed gay-straight-Chinese-expat group of organizers and mark your calendars for October 16-31: ShanghaiPRIDE 2010 is on and twice as long as last year.
This being China and anything overtly political off the table, there is still no parade but rather the best part of Pride: parties, community building, and cultural events. 3,500 people attended the inaugural week of activities and organizers forecast an even bigger turn out this year. In a country of 1.3 billion, that’s a lot of pink power!
A bare bones schedule includes a diversity day at the Expo, pool party, picnic, club events and bar crawls, sports, films and art shows, family day, and the capstone street-festival block party – think drag shows, music, and BBQ – all under the auspices of the theme “Diversity, Unity, Harmony.” Expect it to be fleshed out in the coming weeks, barring any last-minute hiccups: in 2009 local government officials shut down a film screening and staging of the play The Laramie Project. China’s great gay leap forward has to keep up the baby steps.