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October 11, 2010

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Shanghai Pride gets 3-week run

SHANGHAI Pride 2010 will run for three weeks from October 16 to November 6 - three times as long as last year's event.

This year's Shanghai Pride will follow the spirit of Shanghai Pride 2009, the first event of its kind in the city, and consist mainly of small, indoor events at private venues. However, there will be more in-depth discussions and seminars than at last year's event.

Shanghai Pride 2009, held last June, attracted between 3,000 and 4,000 people on its final day. Local officials intervened at two events during the week, while the remainder passed without incident.

The festival was considered great progress on the Chinese mainland, where gay sex was not decriminalized until 1997 and homosexual behavior not removed from a list of mental disorders until 2001.

Academics estimate that China has a homosexual population of around 30 million, including 20 million gay men and 10 million lesbians.

In keeping with last year's event, Shanghai Pride 2010 will not include a carnival-like street parade, characteristic of Gay Pride days in many countries. Instead, a Halloween pub crawl has been organized for October 30.

Taking as its theme "Diversity, Unity, Harmony," the schedule includes film screening and discussion sessions, art exhibitions, sports, parties, barbecues, karaoke and seminars.

Venues will not be announced until three days in advance.

"We planned to have it bigger and brighter this year when we were still organizing it last year, and it will be, especially as we have received help from many other LGBT organizations this time," said Dylan Chen of Shanghai LGBT, the festival's main organizer.

LGBT organizations held a low-profile gathering at UK Pavilion of the Shanghai World Expo in July, at which they discussed collaborations for the festival.

Organizers also hope to have more Chinese taking a leading role in this year's event.

"The other major difference is that we will have a lot more seminars this year. We want to inspire more in-depth discussions in addition to the fun events," said Chen.

Guest speakers will include Wu Youjian, known as "Mom Wu" in China's LGBT community, a 67-year-old former magazine editor who started supporting her son's sexuality publicly on TV in 2005.

Wu founded a popular supportive blog in 2007.


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