China: Queer getaways give China’s LGBT tourists a break from it all

Twenty-something Peking University graduate Luke often bumps into other gay men from mainland China on his trips around the region. 

The Beijing-based media worker is a seasoned traveller to many LGBT-friendly destinations, jetting off regularly with a group to places such as Taipei and Bangkok with thriving queer scenes.

“You could call Thailand the gay Mecca of Southeast Asia,” he said.

Luke is keen to stay in Beijing to advance his career and is out to most of his friends and classmates, but the pink holidays are essential getaways from the more conservative gay bars in the Chinese capital.

Shenzhen university student Sam also makes regular trips across the mainland border to meet up with his adopted LGBT family in Hong Kong.

He met them through the gay dating app Grindr during his first trip to the city last summer and together they visit gay bars in Central and Lan Kwai Fong to party with a freedom that would be unimaginable in his hometown of Guizhou in Guangdong province.

“The reason I keep coming back to Hong Kong is because I feel more comfortable here – like I can finally live my real life,” he said. “Plus my friends and family on the mainland hardly visit, so I don’t have to be scared of being recognised.

“Maybe in future, when I have a job and can hopefully move to Hong Kong, I might come out to them.” Read more via South China Morning Post