China: How flats for lesbians fill a pink economy niche in Chinese city

Walking down the streets of Chengdu in southwestern China, a passer-by might not notice the FUNX buildings. They’re low profile and don’t advertise, but in certain circles are known as far away as Beijing.

To their tenants, they represent a safe-haven, social space and a home often hard to come by elsewhere.

The apartment buildings, both operated by FUNX Free Youth Community, are part of China’s only rental project pitched at the mainland’s lesbian community.

Members of China’s LGBT community say they are often rejected by landlords who object to their sexual orientation. Many also struggle to find a community to socialise with and draw support from.

Homosexuality is not illegal in China, but activists say discrimination is widespread.

Sun Wenlin, a gay rights campaigner in Changsha, Hunan, said projects like FUNX could provide a welcome solution to a host of challenges faced by LGBT Chinese.

“I know four gay couples who rent and live together in a big apartment in Changsha,” he said. “The macro social environment towards LGBT [people] is not friendly enough, forcing them to live together and isolate themselves from society.”

As well as offering safety and a sense of community, such buildings expose residents to a wider range of people than they otherwise might meet. Read more via South China Morning Post