Inspired by Three Billboards, Chinese artist protests conversion therapy

Wu Laobai's Three Billboards-inspired trucks (Photo: Weixin)

Chinese artist, Wu Laobai, on Friday (11 January) launched a campaign against China’s hundreds of conversion therapy centers.

The 29-year-old artist drove three slogan-adorned trucks through the metropolis of Shanghai. He also stopped off at locations known to offer gay conversion therapy.

Wu told Gay Star News he was inspired by the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.

In the 2018 blockbuster, the main character installs huge advertisements to protest police inaction over her daughter’s killing.

Wu Laobai's Three Billboards-inspired trucks (Photo: Provided)

Wu Laobai’s Three Billboards-inspired trucks. (Photo: Provided)

More than 300 centers

Conversion therapy is the harmful practice of attempting to change an LGBTI individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Most major health organizations denounce it.

But, a ‘heat map’ published by Chinese NGOs this month shows 134 confirmed centers in hospitals, clinics across the country. It also includes a number of public health facilities.

China’s government removed homosexuality from a national list of mental illnesses in 2001. But, the country remains a largely conservative society focussed on heteronormative families.

In 2017, Human Rights Watch documented the horrors of conversion therapy in China. It included details of electrocutions and forced injections.

Families quite often pressure LGBTI relatives to undergo ’treatment’.

Wu Laobai's Three Billboards-inspired trucks (Photo: Provided)

Also, Wu Laobai’s Three Billboards-inspired trucks. (Photo: Provided)

Three billboards

Like the movie, Wu’s trucks also carried three slogans.

‘It’s been 19 years, why?’ one says, referencing the 2001 ruling. ‘The diagnostic criteria for mental disorders in China still retain “Sexual Orientation Disorder”’ another says.

‘To cure a ‘disease’ that does not exist?’ Wu’s final truck says.

Wu has crowd-funded his campaign. What’s more, he plans to drive his trucks to more locations known for conversion therapy. Next, he plans to drive to Nanjing, Jinan, Tianjin, Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Zhumadian, and Hefei.

Author: Rik Glauert

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