At a glance

  • Same-sex relations: legal
  • Legal gender recognition: possible only after surgery
  • Registration of LGBTIQ organizations: possible but not as LGBT organizations
  • Actions related to SOGI at UN: opposed IE SOGI in 2016 and 2019



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, particularly freedom of expression, assembly, and the press. As a result, LGBTIQ organizations and activists face 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. Due to this shrinking civic space and censorship, it has been challenging for LGBTIQ groups 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 in the country, and there is strong family pressure for LGBTIQ people to undergo these harmful “treatments.”