Public awareness of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in China is higher than ever thanks to an abortive attempt this month by Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, to bar homosexual content. An outcry from internet users sympathetic to the LGBT cause forced a U-turn. Shanghai-based queer film collective Cinemq hopes to ride that wave of support as it launches its first documentary, Extravaganza, which explores Shanghai’s booming drag scene. Since launching in 2015, Cinemq has gone from strength to strength, and attracts a vibrant community of LGBT creatives to its monthly film screenings and underground parties despite ever tighter restrictions on LGBT media and activism. British filmmaker Matthew Baren, who helped found Cinemq, says he saw it as an alternative to the more mainstream Shanghai Pride Film Festival, and a forum for LGBTs to discuss thought-provoking ideas in a fun and inclusive way.
April 29 / South China Morning Post