|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
BEIJING, China - Initiated by the Aibai Culture & Education Center and the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute, and organized by a consortium of social organizations, the first annual China Rainbow Media Awards announced the winners on 9 December in Beijing. They include Southern Weekend & Phoenix TV (LGBT Salute Award) and Li Yinhe (Special Contribution Award). A host of well-known scholars and media figures attended the Award Ceremony.
Improving Public Opinion Regarding Sexual Minority Communities
The media are the windows through which people look at society. For many years, Chinese mass media presented negative or distorted views of the gay community. The misleading reporting strengthened social prejudices and discrimination towards gay people and affected the living circumstances of millions of Chinese homosexuals, says Yang Yang, Executive Chairwoman for this year's China Rainbow Media Awards.
She continues: "We want to use the momentum generated by these Awards to build strong LGBT communities and to build a genuine platform of communication with the mass media. We hope to improve public opinion regarding sexual minority communities."
The organizers pointed out that the China Rainbow Media Awards are the first Mainland Chinese Media Awards organized by and focused on sexual minority communities (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and others). The China Rainbow Media Awards recognize and honor news reports and cultural products for their objective, scientific and tolerant treatment of LGBT topics, and support and facilitate organizations and individuals who create such work. The China Rainbow Media Awards aim to bring about communication and dialogue between the mass media and sexual minority communities, to raise social awareness, understanding and acceptance regarding sexual minority communities, and to promote the social values of tolerance, equality and harmony.
The China Rainbow Media Awards honor works, institutions and individuals. While this year's institution and individual winners were selected by the organizers themselves based on their contributions to the LGBT community, the award winning works were selected by an expert jury.
After several rounds of selection, the following works were honored:
* China's first research report on domestic violence among lesbians indicates issues that can't be ignored, Du Xiao, Legal Weekly
- Best news report / Newspaper Category
* Homosexual Spouses report series, Hong Hu et al., Southern Metropolis Weekly
- Best news report / Magazine Category
* "Grasp A Dream," Phoenix TV
- Best news report / Television Category
* "Women Submitting Proposals", Wangyi Nvren Pindao
- Best news report / Internet Category
* "The Loveless Marriages of China's Gay Men," Yang Dingdu et al., Xinhua News
- Best news report / English Category
Southern Weekend and the China Daily, among others, won LGBT Salute Awards in the newspaper Category, while Time Out and Southern Metropolis Weekly, among others, won LGBT Salute Awards in the Magazine Category. Dinah Gardner won an LGBT Salute Award for her columns in Time Out. And Dr. Li Yinhe, a well-known sociologist who spoke out m any times on homosexuality and who submitted several proposals to legalize same-sex marriage, was awarded with the Special Contribution Award by the China Rainbow Media Awards organizers.
Li Yinhe, who also took part in this year's China Rainbow Media Awards as a member of the award selection jury, could not be present at the Awards Ceremony but recorded a video expressing her support. She said: "The media form an important platform for people to learn more about homosexuality. Objective reporting by mass media plays a huge role in improving the living circumstances of sexual minorities. The China Rainbow Media Awards encourage mass media to actively report on LGBT issues. They also provide a measure of control against non-objective reporting by the media."
Other celebrities, including Hong Huang and Cheng Qingsong, also recorded support videos that were shown at the Awards Ceremony to an audience that included a large number of Chinese mainstream media representatives.
The Award Presenters
The organizers invited an elderly gay man nicknamed Old Paris to present the Special Contribution Award to Li Yinhe. Old Paris, who's 72 years old, was jailed 3 times because of his homosexual orientation. He was convicted each time under the "hooliganism" provision. Today he lives a quiet life together with his boyfriend. He says: "Although I went to prison several times, I never felt that I was wrong. I never stole anything, I never robbed anyone, and I never did anything that was wrong." Expressing his sincere gratitude towards Li Yinhe, he says: I've lived for more than 70 years and at this moment I'm the happiest I've ever been. That's all because of the tireless work Li Yinhe and others have been doing for all these years."
Auntie Ou was also invited to present an Award. She is a 61 year old retired worker who never thought she would be closely involved with LGBT people up until a few years ago. After retiring, Auntie Ou learned how to surf the internet and got to know some gay people on a blog site. She discovered that this world isn't painted in black and white, and it doesn't only contain men who love women. She provided a listening ear to many gay people, and collected her experiences in a book titled Those Gay Children of Mine which was published earlier this year. She is currently a member of the Beijing chapter of PFLAG China (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays China).
She says: "People always ask me why I support this cause even though there are no gay people in my own family. I feel that in order to improve the public opinion regarding homosexuals, more people have to step up, both hetero- and homosexuals. We're all equals."
At the Awards Ceremony, the organizers mentioned that this year's China Rainbow Media Awards will hold another event in Shanghai at the end of this year, where more awards will be handed out.
China Rainbow Media Awards
The media are the windows through which people look at society. For many years, Chinese mass media presented negative or distorted views of the gay community. The misleading reporting strengthened social prejudices and discrimination towards gay people and affected the living circumstances of millions of Chinese homosexuals.
For this reason, several Mainland Chinese LGBT organizations jointly organized the China Rainbow Media Awards. This annual event independently and impartially honors media institutions and individuals who provide objective and fair reports on LGBT topics. The event encourages mainland Chinese media to provide objective, positive and thorough reporting on LGBT topics. The organizers hope to build up strong LGBT communities and improve the living conditions of millions of LGBT people and to promote a diverse and harmonious society.
China Rainbow Media Awards Website: