China

At a glance

Same Sex
Relations
Legal?

YES

 

Legal Gender
Recognition
Possible?

YES

(only after surgery)

LGBTI Orgs
Able to
Register?

YES

(but not as LGBT org)

Actions Related
to SOGI at
the UN

2019: Opposed IE SOGI
2016: Opposed IE SOGI

Overview

The official policy towards LGBTIQ people in China can be described as “don’t encourage, don’t discourage, don’t promote.” Over the past decade, the Chinese government has increasingly clamped down on its citizens’ human rights more broadly, particularly restricting freedom of expression, assembly, and the press. As a result, LGBTIQ organizations and activists have also faced intimidation and violence by security services. China’s Cybersecurity Law, which bans the dissemination of information disruptive to the “social order,” criminalizes the distribution of information for and about the LGBTIQ community. As a result it has been challenging for LGBTIQ groups, and, indeed, civil society more broadly, to organize. Since China stopped prosecuting gay men under hooliganism laws in the 1990’s, government officials have largely stayed silent on the issue of the human rights of LGBTIQ people - even as LGBTIQ activists push for recognition and equality. Traditional cultural values and family units are emphasized in China, which contributes to the social ostracization of and discrimination against LGBTIQ people. So-called “conversion clinics” offering “conversion therapy” for sexual orientation and gender identity reorientation operate fairly freely, and there is strong family pressure for LGBTIQ people to undergo these harmful “treatments.”