The Love of Comrades: Legal Advocacy for Gay Rights in China

On Thursday, February 14,  the U.S.-Asia Law Institute hosted “The Love of Comrades: Legal Advocacy for Gay Rights in China,” a discussion on the emerging legal advocacy for gay rights activists and lawyers in China. Zhou Dan, a Chinese lawyer and gay rights advocate, spoke about means by which broader political and legal debates have shaped the fight for legal recognition for gays and lesbians on the mainland, and how the movement relates to other streams of citizen rights activism in the country. U.S.-Asia Law Institute execute director Ira Belkin moderates. To download the full hour-long discussion, please follow the link at the bottom of this post.

A lawyer licensed in China, Zhou Dan has been practicing law for 14 years.  He is one of the first few Chinese gay men whose real name has ever positively appeared in local, national and international major media.  In recent years, he has played a pivotal role in the LGBT rights activism in China by engaging in public dialogue and education, and doing legal advocacy.  In addition to practice-oriented work, he carries out research projects on the legal history of the regulation of same-sex desire in modern China and legal challenges for LGBT people in today’s China.  Over the past eight years, he has been working together with the China Law Center of Yale Law School on antidiscrimination law and other legal matters related to China. In 2009, he publishedPleasure and Discipline: Jurisprudential Imagination of Same-sex Desire in the Chinese Modernity, a ground-breaking monograph in the Chinese language on the dynamics of same-sex desire, law and modernity in China. He was profiled in the June 27, 2005 issue of TIME magazine for his activism on lesbian and gay rights and HIV/AIDS in China.  It is one of his philosophies that LGBT activism as a legal movement will not only benefit LGBT people, but help promote broader movements for a truly rights-respecting and equality-minded polity in China.

To download the discussion: