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Lala Life

Fabian Weiss | Beijing, China

View out of Xi's apartment in the 6th floor on a hazy day. She is one of the lucky ones to have her own apartment to meet with her girlfriend. For most of the lesbians still living with their parents the only opportunity to meet their partners is to go to one of the cafés or hour hotels in town.

Being lesbian still signifies harsh living conditions in modern China. Since 1997 it is no longer illegal to be homosexual and in 2001 homosexuality has even been removed from the Ministry of Health's list of mental illnesses. But despite all loosened restrictions, homosexual life in China still remains mostly hidden. Lesbians and bisexuals have still less publicity and possibilities to meet than gays. To make things worse, expectations on marriage towards a generation of single descendants are now stronger than ever. But there are also more ways to meet and connect each other like never before. Homosexual online platforms are mushrooming and new conceptions of living are invented in no time. To circumvent the pressure of getting married, fake marriages are celebrated between lesbians and gays and provide certain freedom. But the downside is obvious: with this pretence at concealment there will be no change of mind in the near future and living such a lie of omission is for most of the affected not pleasing at all.

Despite the male counterparts the lesbian movement in China didn't open up to the public yet the way the gay movement did. That's why I wanted to give them an opportunity to tell their stories to a broader public that is not censored by the rigorous Chinese government in the hope to help them change the way they’re looked at.

I spent one month following four lesbian and bisuexal women, recording and capturing their stories related to their different backgrounds: a bisexual girl aged 20 belonging to the lively and experimental post 90s generation, a divorced woman with rather accepting parents and a couple struggling with divorce and geographical distance. Using standardized interviews and capturing statements on video I mostly tried to follow them during their daily life in order to convey their relation towards their own sexual orientation.

The viewer should get an insight into the lesbian community in modern China and realise the importance for them gaining more acceptance to live their sexual orientation freely. Otherwise the solution of hiding and cheating nagging parents with fake marriages with members of the gay community will continue to raise. With this trend there will be no change in the society towards a better acceptance of lesbians and bisexuals and coming out will stay as hard as it is still nowadays.

 http://www.utopia-asia.com/

http://aibaiglbt.com/

http://www.gaychina.com/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BGLAD/

http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/nightlife/lgbt/

http://ilga.org/ilga/en/article/mEESvkr1MD

http://www.lalabar.com

Lala Salon Activity Centre

2808 Phase 3, 3 Dongheng Shidai, Chaoyang Dist. A lesbian community center with a small bar. They hold regular educational and social events including an English corner for women mostly aged 20-40. 

http://www.lalabar.com

 

Fabian Weiß

4 Madeleine Terrace, 5A Bushey Hill Road London SE5 8QF United Kingdom   mobile (UK): +44 7427 747 674 mobile (GER / INT): +49 176 841 330 55 email: info@fabianweiss.com web: www.fabianweiss.com

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