In partnership with the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, HRC Global traveled to four different Chinese cities to discuss the situation of LGBTQ people in the Asian country. As part of the spring delegation of the Professional Fellows Program of the State Department, the Consultation Center for AIDS Aid and Health Services based in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, hosted Associate Director of HRC Global Jordan Long.
At the Consultation Center, the LGBTQ community in Shenyang, which is located in northeast China, welcomed HRC Global. During in-depth meetings with the six staff members of the Consultation Center, Long discussed strategies for building a network of members and supporters, establishing thematic actions throughout the year and engaging members of the community to drive their work.
Long joined the inaugural meeting at the Consultation Center’s new office, which caters to the needs of the transgender community in Shenyang. Around 20 trans women met for the first time with a volunteer lawyer who provided educational training on rights under Chinese law. During the meeting, Ma Tiecheng, the Director of the Consultation Center, began to document the violations of rights that take place regularly in Shenyang. Ma Tiecheng and Long later discussed an advocacy strategy to take steps to combat discrimination and violence against members of the trans community.
In addition to meetings in Shenyang, Long traveled to the northeastern cities of Changchun and Harbin where the Consultation Center also works with the LGBTQ community. In Harbin, Long participated in a two-day Youth Sexuality Education Training. He shared some of HRC’s activities to develop capacity around sexuality and gender identity, specifically HRC’s Welcoming Schools program, which builds the skills of educators and administrators to promote inclusion of all students.
This trip to China built upon the work of HRC Visiting Global Fellow Liu Yan, who was in residency at HRC for four weeks in October 2015. Liu Yan’s time at HRC was spent learning about how HRC has successfully engaged the LGBTQ community in our history of legislative advocacy and public education.
HRC’s first Global Spotlight, “LGBT China Today: Surprising Progress yet Daunting Obstacles,” examined the fact that when fundamental human rights are not being respected by the government, LGBTQ communities are extremely limited in their ability to organize. Despite these challenges, including a recent unfavorable court decision on marriage equality, visibility of the LGBTQ community continues to grow, as demonstrated by the resilient actions by the advocates at the Consultation Center in northeast China.