Many gay guys have perceptions about other cultures and governments when it comes to travelling. While many of us might think that European nations are generally more sexually adventurous and Asian nations are more reserved, there are actually more things to be concerned about when travelling as a gay guy in some countries than there are if you were to visit China.
China is actually quite forward thinking when it comes to sexual diversity. Homosexuality is not illegal in China and they removed the classification of gayness being a “mental disorder” a while ago. They have a rich history of sexual gay art stretching back through the centuries and although they might not display sexuality as openly as some European cities, their social attitudes when it comes to gay sex are really not different to those of the USA or the UK. You probably won’t see sex shops exposing their wares in the windows, but you won’t see reports of saunas being raided either.
One of the leading cities in China for gay Asia tourists is Shanghai. This large metropolis is a modern and highly developed city, packed with the kind of youthful scene any large city needs for a healthy gay community. Recent estimates put the gay population at anywhere between 700,000 and 900,000 with more young people heading to the city from all over China every year. The energetic and evolving community is responsible for creating a young and diverse culture, with everything you’d expect to find in any large urban landscape. A little searching on line will show that there are thriving gay bars and clubs, massage venues and presumably more discreet venues too. Some of the best gay bars in Shanghai are Eddy’s Bar, Shanghai Studio, 390 Shanghai, Transit Lounge, New Bobo and Blend.
Another of the leading cities in China for gay Asia tourists is Beijing which has a number of exclusively gay saunas and massage spas that are popular with locals, expats and tourists. Its gay scene has grown rapidly over the past few years. Travel Gay Asia has a list of gay hotels, gay bars and gay nightclubs in Shanghai and Beijing.
Destination is perhaps one of the most trendy and popular gay venues in Beijing. Located on Gongtixilu Rd. Destination is a must see nightspot for any guy on a tour of gay Asia. With its youthful crowd, its modern outlook and surrounded by other classy restaurants and venues, the place is awash with a great mix of young and handsome Chinese guy, expats from the USA and Europe and the occasional businessman feeling a little more lively than usual. Considered by many to be a prime venue for meeting other guys, Destination should absolutely be on your itinerary for any gay Asia jaunt.
A few other little things to consider when visiting China as a gay tourist
1. While being gay in China is increasingly acceptable, public shows of affection are not the norm. Just as would be the case in many other cities around the world, some people don’t like seeing two guys kissing. While you might not experience a drunken local hurling abuse at you while you and your partner are holding hands while walking down the street, you may find a uniformed gentleman informing you that you are overstepping the line.
2. Paying for sex is illegal in China just as its in many other countries. While there are numerous massage venues and hundreds of young guys advertising their massage services and able to attend your hotel room, you’ll have little excuse if caught. While this law might be technically unenforceable, its the law and you brake it at your own risk. Just as in any other country.
3. Cruising is possible in China and there are locations known for this but be very careful. Cruising in the main cities is very definitely at your own risk. There are tens of millions of migrant workers from the countryside in the major cities. Most are paid peanuts and some will be on the lookout for ways to supplement that income by preying on gay guys. It’s not unheard of for young guys to work in groups. So if you take someone back to your hotel, you might end up soon with two others at the door ready to rob whatever is of value. Be very careful of casual meets on the street or in a park. But if you are adventurous and while you might feel comfortable whipping it out in the bushes for a shared stroke with a guy in your own city, you have to consider that in China it’s more acceptable to simply meet and then head elsewhere for increased privacy.
Ultimately, Shanghai and Beijing are increasingly being seen as highlights for anyone visiting gay Asia. The vibrant night life and the gay community in particular, is brimming with handsome young Chinese guys ready to welcome tourists to their cities. Definitely add Shanghai and Beijing to your list of places to visit.
Homosexuality has been documented in China since ancient times but what is the situation in modern China? Is there gay pride or prejudice in China? Find out at GBTimes.
By Freelance Writer James เจมส์