Teacher reveals high price of coming out as gay in China

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05/30/2020

When he came out as gay, teacher Cui Le made local news headlines and was subject to censorship and surveillance by his university in southern China. It took years – and a move to New Zealand – before he felt ready to tell his story. Cui was working as a linguistics lecturer at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in the southern Chinese province of Guangzhou when he publicly identified as gay in 2015. In August of that year a student named Qiubai, at Sun Yat-sen University, sued the Chinese education ministry over textbooks which described homosexuality as a “disease”. The school counsellor informed Qiubai’s parents of her sexuality and they, in turn, took her to the hospital for an examination. Cui, along with the rest of the country’s LGBT community, was outraged. Until that moment he had remained silent, fearful that being gay could pose an obstacle to his career development.

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