May 17 was International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. In China, groups of college and high school students organized a series of activities to raise awareness of LGBT rights violations. Their message apparently did not reach the Xiangtan Technical Secondary School of Industry and Commerce in Hunan province.
Comrade’s Voice (同志之声 tóngzhì zhīshēng — “comrade” is slang for “gay”) is a Weibo account dedicated to empowering the LGBT community in China. Today the account posted a photo of a digital billboard at the Xiangtan school displaying the following message: “Say no to homosexuality, create a bright and harmonious campus.”
“The failure of sex education and backward ideas have resulted in the long-standing violence and discrimination against the gay community on campus,” Comrade’s Voice commented (in Chinese). “But such flagrant homophobia from school officials is still rare.”
The Xiangtan school has more than 4,000 students and around 300 staff members.
Many internet users pointed out that the school’s hostility against homosexuality is at odds with the Chinese government’s stance, given that the People’s Daily argued in an April commentary that “homosexuality is not a mental illness.” A Weibo user questioned (in Chinese), “How can you construct a bright and harmonious campus by singling out a whole community?”