Last week, I was asked by Dutch radio programme De Andere Wereld (“The Other World”) to do a short audio report on being gay in China. During my interviews with several people in the Kunming gay scene, I met so many interesting people and opinions that I realised the subject was worth more than 5 minutes of radio time. I’d like to share my findings with you here.

A man in a Roman toga walks up the catwalk at Nono bar
A man in a Roman toga strides up the catwalk at Nono bar

Legalised in 1997 and scrapped from the list of mental illnesses as late as 2001, homosexuality in China is still a fairly sensitive topic. Even though modern cities as Beijing and Shanghai have a thriving gay scene, many homosexuals remain in the closed, nailed shut by family expectations and a lack of information. This is no less the case in Kunming, the capital of chiefly rural Yunnan province.