Sat, Feb 11, 2006 - Page 5 News List

China removes old taboos in releasing first report on gays

AFP , BEIJING

The first report focused on gay sex among men in China has been published detailing homosexual behavior that has long been taboo in the country, state press reported yesterday.

The report includes 400 interviews and case studies of male homosexuals in China, Xinhua news agency said.

The report details the feelings, identities and expressions of gay men from different social and cultural backgrounds, Pan Suiming, director of the Sexual Sociology Institute at People's University, said in the report's preface.

The 650,000-word report, funded by the US Ford Foundation, also explores gay attitudes and marriages, and compares homosexuality in China with Western societies, Xinhua said.

China only recently overturned a long held position that gay behavior was linked to mental disease, a move that has led to greater openness towards homosexual behavior.

Chinese health authorities estimate there are five to 10 million gay men in the country and about 80 percent of them admit to total ignorance about HIV/AIDS, according to survey conducted in 2004. Scientific estimates would suggest the true figure is nearer to 60 million.

Despite the greater acceptance of homosexuality in China, Chinese Internet police last April blocked access to a popular overseas gay website.

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