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Shanghai University to Offer Gay Studies
By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer
Tue Aug 16, 4:50 PM ET
A university in Shanghai is offering China's first class on homosexuality and gay culture and several hundred students have applied for the 100 openings, a professor in charge of the course said Tuesday.
Professor Sun Zhongxin, one of the course's instructors at the prestigious Fudan University, said its introduction resulted from strong interest among undergraduates.
"I used to teach gender study for undergraduates and found they were very interested in the topic of homosexuality," Sun said.
The class is full, but "more students are still applying," Sun said.
The course aims to break down widespread ignorance and prejudice against gays in China, another instructor, Gao Yanning, was quoted as saying by the Shanghai Daily newspaper.
"We will pay more attention on how to have a proper view about homosexuals," Gao said, according to the paper. "We will give students an equitable judgment on homosexuals and help eliminate students' discrimination."
Gao could not be reached for further comment.
Gays were strongly persecuted after China's 1949 communist revolution, condemned as products of decadent Western and feudal societies. Official attitudes gradually have changed since the late 1980s, and in 2001, the China Psychiatric Association ceased listing homosexuality as a mental illness.
Looser enforcement of laws on homosexual behavior has allowed small but thriving gay scenes to emerge in Shanghai, Beijing and other cities in the developed east.
Yet, given the disdain shown to homosexuality by traditional Confucian culture, gay men and lesbians in China still tend to hide their sexual orientation.
While reports of violence against homosexuals are rare, discrimination by family members and co-workers remains strong and Communist Party officials have ruled out legislation outlawing such unfair treatment.
The Fudan course follows an earlier an earlier graduate course gay health issues that focussed mainly on AIDS prevention. About 2,000 students have taken the earlier course since it was launched in 2003, Professor Sun said.
China university offers gay studies course
Ben Townley, Gay.com U.K.
published Tuesday, August 16, 2005
A Chinese university is offering the country's first course on lesbian and gay studies.
Shanghai's renowned Fudan University will offer the course, which will look at the rise of a sexually diverse culture internationally.
Around 100 people have already signed up for the course, according to press reports. The university plans to expand the course to accommodate more students.
Professor Gao Yanning told the Shanghai Daily newspaper that he hoped the new course would help raise awareness of lesbian and gay people in China, as well as help break down prejudice.
"We will give students an equitable judgment on homosexuals and help eliminate students' discrimination," he is quoted as saying.
The course follows a radical change in thinking in China. After widespread persecution of lesbian and gay people, the government has relaxed its stance in recent years.
Last year China released its first official estimate of its gay male population, putting the number between five and 10 million. The figures came after the country was warned it needed to update its approach to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
復旦大学 (Fudan University)