This year’s Shanghai Pride Week, titled Pride5 in recognition of its fifth anniversary, will take place from 14th to 22nd June. A week-long string of events has been planned to boost the LGBT’s community position in China and raise awareness around LGBT themes including marriage equality, sexual health and societal acceptance. Run by volunteers from the not-for-profit group, ShanghaiLGBT and other NGOs, Pride5 is expected to bring thousands of people together at a multitude of fun social and advocacy events.
While retaining many of the activities that have made Pride Week a synonym for ‘Party Week’ among the LGBT and friends community, organisers are determined to incorporate more serious elements into this year’s Pride. Marriage equality will be one of these elements; with support for gay marriage hovering at around 30% in Beijing and Shanghai, Pride5 will discuss ways to raise and promote the issue among the wider public and politicians. To that end Pride5 will feature two panel discussions on workplace discrimination and gay marriage.
Organisers are also hoping to boost interest in Shanghai’s Gay Film Festival which will be held during Pride Week. Their aim is to make it the largest gay film festival in the region within a few years and they are already reviewing locally produced films to screen. Sandwiching the week at both the beginning and end will be LGBT-themed theatre performances and then towards the end of the week there will be an art exhibition featuring work by local up-and-coming LGBT artists. As usual, the opening and closing parties are expected to draw the biggest crowds; last year over 800 people attended the closing party which was held at Mi Tierra and organisers are hoping for an even bigger turnout this year.
“We’re very optimistic that this year will be the biggest and most fun Pride yet, but more importantly it will be the most significant in terms of content,” said Dylan Chen. “With a greater focus on equality, advocacy and sexual health we hope that we can bring together people in a more meaningful way than we have done in the past. It’s time to stop being afraid of confronting the issues that seemed daunting to us before, it’s time for us to come together as a community and share our experiences and knowledge for the benefit of our society.”