Earlier in the year, 66hands documented four lesbian voices from around mainland China. For many non-Chinese (and indeed Chinese), the article shed light on a previously underreported demographic. Delving into the personal struggles of these women as they embraced their sexuality depicted a society that was, once upon a time, opposed to LGBTIs, yet is now, slowly but surely, opening its mind and its heart.
There is a need to project more individual Chinese, LGBTI voices. This is the story of Bak, a homosexual male from PuCheng, China, who currently lives in Shanghai. Afterall, “Understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will” Martin Luther King, Jr.
I grew up in a small town. It was due to the Internet that I discovered homosexuality, bisexuality and other (forms of) contemporary relationships, besides heterosexuality. I’ve known I’m gay since the age of 12. I first came out to my good friends, and later to my classmates, and (eventually) everyone know now knows me, knows that I am gay. 我在一个小县城里长大，网络带来的可能性让我了解到除了异性恋还有同性恋、双性恋甚至多元化的关系。我知道自己是同性恋是12岁，一开始我向我的好朋友出柜，后来向我的同学，基本上周围认识我的人都知道我是gay。
During high school, I came out to my mother (because I couldn’t bear the pain of unrequited love). Because I was young, she didn’t take me seriously … even though I’d recently and clearly told her: I will marry a man in the future. She did not blame me and respected my decision. But I feel the sadness she suffered and the pain she could not express. Before I saw the ugly side of the world, I thought it was easy to come out. 直到高中，承受不了单恋的痛苦的时候，我向我的妈妈出柜。因为年纪小的原因她当时并没有当真，知道最近才跟很明确地告诉她：我以后会跟男人结婚。她没有指责我，尊重了我的决定。我也可以清楚的感受到她所承受的悲伤，以及她无法言喻的痛苦。在我没有看到这个世界丑陋的一面之前，我认为出柜是一件容易的事情。
What was your childhood like?
I have always been very loved, even today (I know) I’m still loved. I think that my family is centred on me, caring about my feelings and meeting my needs … (to the extent that) I sometimes ask for more unreasonable demands. 我是一直被溺爱的，直到现在也是。我认为家里人是以我为中心的，在乎我的感受，满足我的需求，以至于我有时会提出比较无理的要求。
Can you describe your ‘outing’ – what was the reaction from friends and family?
The night I came out (during high school), I was lying on the bed with my mother. In pain, I told her that I’d been rejected; I liked a boy who didn’t like me back. At the time, she said I was still young and that when I grow up, I’ll like girls. 我第一次出柜是在高中的一个晚上，跟我的妈妈躺在床上，我当时喜欢一个男孩，但是我被拒绝了，很痛苦地告诉她我喜欢这个男孩但是她不喜欢我。那时候她以为我还小，长大了就会喜欢女生。
So, I had to ‘come out’ to her twice. When my last relationship ended, it was very painful. My mum came to comfort me, and we talked about marriage. I told her very clearly that I would either marry a man, or not get married at all. I still think that she was still very upset (about this) … but she chose to respect me. 于是就有了我第二次出柜，在上一段感情结束的时候，依旧是非常痛苦，她来安慰我，谈到我以后结婚的问题，我非常明确地告诉她我会跟一个男人结婚，要么就不结婚。我至今还能感受到她当时是非常痛苦的。但是她选择了尊重我。
My friends have always known that I am gay. Now, the people I hang out with are also gay, so we mutually respect and support one another. I don’t like to hide anything from other people, so sometimes with my friends I ‘come out’ again. They say: we all know! 我的朋友们一直都知道我是gay，现在陪伴我的人也是，我们互相尊重，相互支持。我不喜欢对人隐瞒我的事情，有时候跟朋友出柜，他们甚至会说：我们都知道啊。
Have you ever dated any non-Chinese? How did that compare with dating Chinese?
My last date was with a non-Chinese guy. I’ve always enjoyed dating foreigners. The thinking of foreigners is a little more … “avant-garde” than the Chinese. Although we are all gay, as a Chinese, we are influenced (more or less) by traditional Chinese thinking. The collision between two cultures will make me optimistic. 我上个约会的对象就是非中国人，而我一直也喜欢跟外国人约会。外国人的思想会比中国人前卫一些，虽然说我们都是gay，但作为一个中国人，多多少少还是会被中国的传统思想影响。而且两种文化的碰撞产生的新鲜感会让我愉悦。
I think us Chinese have given too many labels to homosexuals and LGBTIs. I just want a spiritual love … compared with Chinese, foreigners can better understand this concept. 我觉得中国人给gay贴的标签太多了，我更想要的是精神上的恋爱，相比较中国人，外国人可以更好的理解这个概念。
What future do you see for LGBTIs in China?
The modern (new) generation has grown up in a relatively open environment (just like the friends I mentioned before). As for the rights of the LGBTI groups, I have always had an optimistic attitude. However, this attitude has been tested this year after the inclusion of homosexuals on the list of banned broadcasts and the topic of lesbians being removed on SinaWeibo, and so on. There is still a lot we need to do. 新的一代是在一种相对开放的环境下长大的，就像我前面提到我的朋友，所以对于lgbtq群体的权利，我一直抱有一种乐观的态度。但这种态度在今年受到了考验，广电把同性恋列入禁止播放的名单、les的话题在新浪微博被撤下等。我们需要做的还有很多。。
I want to say to all those struggling: find your inner balance, find a comfortable state, do what you want, and live proudly without hurting others. I want to join my lover in my home country and be able to marry him. Right now I can’t. But one day, the light of the rainbow will shine into this land, and everyone will feel it’s warmth. 可现在我只想对所有挣扎的人说：找到内心的平衡，找到舒服的状态，在不伤害别人的前提下，做你想做的，骄傲的活着。我也想同我的爱人在我的祖国牵手走入婚姻的殿堂，现在不可以。但有一天，彩虹的光会照进这片土地，而每个人，都会感受到温暖。