Regional authorities in China shut down two LGBTI organizations on Tuesday (8 January).
The Municipal Affairs Bureau in the southern metropolis Guangzhou labeled the Guangzhou University Rainbow Group and the Guangzhou Gender and Sexuality Education Center as ‘illegal social organizations’.
The organizations provided sexual diversity education in universities and support for sexual harassment cases respectively.
Authorities claim the two groups failed to register properly and were, therefore, operating illegally.
A statement posted by the Guangzhou Gender Education Center said it would cease operation.
‘Thank you for your support and encouragement for our anti-sexual harassment work for more than two years’ the statement said.
Crackdown on LGBTI activities
Many LGBTI activities have been stopped recently, according to an LGBTI advocate based in Guangzhou.
What’s more, he said it was ‘very difficult’ for LGBTI groups to register.
‘You can’t state you’re providing a service for LGBT people’ the activist, who requested anonymity, told Gay Star News.
‘In the [province] Guangdong, you must remove ‘gay’ from your organization name if you want to register’ he said.
China legalized gay sex in 1997 and removed it from the list of mental illnesses in 2001.
But, in a conservative and family-orientated society, many LGBTI Chinese live in the closet. Same-sex marriage is also illegal.
China’s Netcasting Service Association (CNSA) officially banning LGBT content from China’s internet in June 2017.
CNSA labeled homosexuality ‘abnormal sexual behavior’.
Furthermore, China ruled the country’s ban was lawful in a court case in October.
Fan Chunlin had challenged CNSA over its decision to ban LGBTI comment. Fan was ‘disappointed’ with the ruling. But vowed he and his lawyer, Tang Xiangqian, would appeal the decision.