Reuters Highlights a Chinese Periodical Targeting Gay Men That Discusses ‘Taboo’ Subjects of Homosexuality and HIV/AIDS
Reuters on Sunday profiled Zhang Beichuan, a Chinese man who created the periodical "Friend Exchange" to educate gay Chinese men about HIV/AIDS. The Chinese government last year struck homosexuality from a list of psychiatric disorders and has recently become more open about HIV/AIDS in the country, but many gay Chinese men say that "social pressures ... make life harder for homosexuals" and people with HIV/AIDS because the two subjects remain taboo. An estimated 100 million Chinese, or 7% of the country's population, are gay. "Friend Exchange" is a pamphlet that openly discusses homosexuality, how gay men can practice safe sex and the latest developments in HIV/AIDS research. The publication also contains personal stories about living with HIV or as a gay man in China. Although Zhang said his pamphlet is supported by the Chinese government, it is not available on magazine stands and is distributed only through the mail. Although approximately 8,500 to 9,000 copies are printed of each issue of the publication, Zhang said that readership is wider because people pass the pamphlet to friends after reading it. The production of "Friend Exchange" is funded largely by the Ford Foundation, and Zhang said he hopes the pamphlet will gain more support in China and abroad (Ruwitch, Reuters, 9/29).
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