Queer Chinese New Year

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At Qulture, we cultivate a web space and community of bloggers, that share perspectives on queer communities of color. We take inspiration from events that happen throughout the year and highlight their cultural symbols of protection, power and peace. These symbols are specific to reflection during the Chinese New Year and allow us to evaluate the future  for our  queer communities.


Queer Comrades, a website for chinese queers, produced a video compilation of LGBTQ Media highlights for the year 2011. From public kissing in Beijing China to groups of rainbow pride bike groups to the country’s first Rainbow media awards. Many organizations have contributed as advocates for a stronger representation in the   media including Danlan Les, Common Language, the Beijing LGBT Center and PFLAG China.

Watch the full video on www.queercomrades.com


The Shēngxiào, or Chinese Zodiac,  is a set-up that relates each year to an animal (Rat,Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig) and its reputed attributes, according to a 12-year mathematical cycle. This year is the

Year of the Dragon, and it has extra special meaning to us.

The Dragon is a creature of myth and legend. As a symbol of good fortune and sign of intense power, the Oriental Dragon is regarded as a divine beast – the reverse of the malicious monster that Westerners felt necessary to find and slay. In Eastern philosophy, the Dragon is said to deliver good fortune and be a master of authority. Therefore, those people born in Dragon years are to be honored and respected.

To find out your Chinese Zodiac animal according to your birth date, click here!

The dragon also represents:  Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, and loyal qualities.


According to an article called “Queering The Lunar New Year” in the Huffington Post, Ben De Guzman, Co-Director for Programs, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance explains:

Asian Americans/ South Asians/ Southeast Asians/ Pacific Islanders (AAPI) who are lesbian/ gay/ bisexual/ transgender (LGBT) often think about Lunar New Year in a unique way. On one hand, the family and

Image from header in QueerComrades.com

cultural obligations that come with this time of year remind us that we often create and define family in very different ways than other members of LGBT communities — our non-AAPI counterparts. The mutual interdependence we create among our families transcends small nuclear units, and requires us to think about our lives as openly LGBT people against a large backdrop. When we come out, it’s not just to parents and siblings, but sometimes it’s to an entire clan.

The ways in which we are out and assert our visibility in our families and communities must be unique as well. The mantra of “We’re here! We’re Queer! Get Used to it!” may suit us at the Gay Pride Parade and can even be part of our demand for the full inclusion of our AAPI communities within the LGBTQ rubric. But as we engage our own racial and ethnic communities, often including our own biological families — our parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, even great grandparents — we have had to find different mantras and strategies that better fit into these distinct cultural contexts. Read More


What does the future hold for Queer issues in China? Source: SoSoGay.com

While the legalisation of same-sex marriage in China may indeed be far from happening, good progress has been made in other areas over recent years. An

Image from pavtube.com

increasing number of people are accepting those who are LGBT, activists are striving to work harder for equal rights – with the government being less strict on them and ultimately LGBT people feeling more comfortable to be themselves. These trends are likely to continue in the future but unfortunately it seems China’s official stance will always remain ‘indifferent’ and its society mixed in its opinions. Read More about LGBT issues in China.


There is a strong community of Chinese LGBTQ folks in San Francisco, which is why you won’t miss queer representation in any parade. In the 2011 Chinese New Year Parade on Geary Street in downtown San Francisco– you can watch the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band!



Jonathan Menendez is a digital media entrepeneur/producer that focuses his work on the empowerment of marginalized communities through emergent media, specifically trans-queer people of color. His projects include the production of a documentary on gay Latino culture in L.A., the founding and creative development of xQsi Magazine and Qulture. He founded the Latin@ Queer Arts and Film Festival that is a collaboration with the LA LGBT Center. He has shared his work as a panelist at The Queer Media Conference, The People of Color Film Festival: FUSION and the the Queer Students of Color Conferences. He has worked as a consultant for AIDS Project Los Angeles/UCSF under the department of research with George Ayala to ensure a diverse sample of Latino recruits for a study. He just completed his graduate degree with an emphasis on Digital Art and New Media from the University of California Santa Cruz where he also served as a teaching assistant for two years.

One thought on “Queer Chinese New Year

  • January 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Really enjoyed reading this Jon! Thanks for sharing. This is my sign. I am a Dragon. I am going to have a phenomenal year!


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