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November 7, 2010

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Gay event ends with family day

HUNDREDS of gay people, bringing their family members and straight friends, gathered yesterday at a local Italian restaurant for a special party to celebrate the conclusion of the three-month-long Shanghai Pride 2010.

The party, held in Pudong New Area, was not merely a get-together for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, but was open to everyone - even children and their pets were on the guest list.

According to organizers, "The Family Day" party was meant to focus on the harmonious relationship between homosexuals and their straight relatives to show the spirit of the gay festival with the theme "Diversity, Unity, and Harmony".

"We want to invite our family members and friends on this day to show that our sexuality is well understood and supported," said Kenneth Tan, one of the main organizers.

According to Tan, this year's Shanghai Pride has been a great success, not only because it has run for three weeks, three times as long as last year's event, but also because it contained diversified activities, such as panel discussions, art shows, sports events, film screenings, parties and even in-depth seminars.

The seminars featured lectures on AIDS prevention and forums where Wu Youjian shared her life story and opinions as the first Chinese mother to go on television to support her son's sexuality.

Many organizers and gay people attending the party told Shanghai Daily that they felt the city was showing more understanding toward their sexual orientation.

"In the past several years, I haven't encountered any trouble in my life both in Shanghai and Beijing for being gay," said Dylan Chen, another of the festival organizers.

"I admit that people today are showing more understanding toward homosexuals, but there's still a long way to go to eliminate the bias and discrimination," said Ray Mahoney, an English teacher from the United States.

Mahoney has devoted himself to raising public awareness of AIDS prevention among gay people in the past few years by issuing leaflets at People's Park.


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