Many Chinese celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14, but yesterday was the traditional Chinese equivalent of the holiday, called Qi Xi (七夕). On this day every year, many men and women will profess their feelings for each other or propose–one of the trending topics on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, was “Let’s get married!”
On this special occasion, Sina, one of the country’s main news outlets, ran a story about a gay couple in southern China who have openly announced their engagement. While homosexuality is still a taboo topic in many parts of China, Chinese society as a whole, and young city residents in particular, are becoming more accepting of it. In celebration of this romantic holiday and social progress, Tea Leaf Nation has translated and reprinted the story of Qiang Shao and Zhong Shao’s engagement below.
Zhong Shao and Qiang Shao come from Fujian Province in southeastern China, and have been together for two years and three months. After announcing their engagement on their Weibo pages, most of the hundreds of comments are sincere best wishes.
Recently, social media is abuzz with the news of two gay men setting a date to be married. The two men, Zhong Shao and Qiang Shao, are from Fujian, and have been together for two years and three months. The reporters discovered that after the two had posted Weibos about their announcement, most of the hundreds of comments were well wishes for the two of them. Today, Zhong Shao and Qiang Shao will become engaged at a gay bar in Dongguan.
Weibo announcement of engagement draws attention online
Southern Metropolis reporters discovered that the earliest announcement of the pair’s engagement was sent out by @纹身痞子OR健身小帅de爱, which is the account of Qiang Shao and Zhong Shao. On August 14, they posted a Weibo saying that last year, they postponed the wedding because one of their fathers became ill and passed away. This year, they will become engaged at a gay bar in Dongguan.
After this post was made, it immediately became a hot topic on the site, reposted over 200 times. Many netizens expressed their congratulations. Zhong Shao said that many had offered to help them with the engagement party. It was not long after they decided to become engaged that they contacted someone to help with the wedding photography. Just two days alter, the photographer agreed. Zhong Shao said that on August 19, Qiang Shao and he would go to have their pictures taken.
At around 10 PM on August 19, @东莞韩风尚婚纱摄影 posted wedding pictures of the two on Weibo. The two handsome men both wore tuxedos in the pictures. Most of the hundreds of comments on these pictures were congratulatory in nature as well. @电影人程青松 also reposted the pictures, congratulating the two.
“We should have a name for what we are”
Why did the pair decide to become engaged? Qiang Shao stated that the two had planned to get married in Fujian [province] the previous year, but it was delayed due to his father’s serious illness. “He said he was willing to sacrifice everything for me. I was very moved by this, and I thought we should have a name for what we are,” said Zhong Shao.
Zhon Shao and Qiang Shao are almost certainly the first gay men to openly become engaged in Dongguan. After the posts announcing their engagement, many netizens also posted about the greatness of love.
On August 21, @纹身痞子OR健身小帅de爱 posted on Weibo, saying that he hoped a venue would host the ceremony. A manager of a gay bar in Dongguan saw this post and offered his space to the couple for free. Last night, Zhong Shao and Qiang Shao began to make preparations for the ceremony. The two said that because their families were living elsewhere, they would tell their parents about their engagement ceremony by phone, and they invited the parents of other gay people to be witnesses.
Tea Leaf Nation paid a visit to @纹身痞子OR健身小帅de爱’s Weibo page itself and found this heartwarming message: “On the evening of Qi Xi, we are getting engaged! We welcome all friends in the Guangdong area to take part in our engagement ceremony!” Too bad we couldn’t make it.