New York Times Examines Gay Studies Class at Chinese University, Relation to HIV/AIDS Awareness
The New York Times on Thursday examined an undergraduate gay and lesbian studies class at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and how gay advocates in China "have been able to leverage the rising alarm over the spread of AIDS to win more maneuvering space, including more acceptance from the government." The class is the first of its kind offered to Chinese undergraduates and has attracted overflow attendance. "For such a university to have a specific course like this, with so many participants and experts involved, will have a very positive impact on the social situation of gay people and on the fight against AIDS," Zhou Shengjian, director of a gay advocacy group in Chongqing, China, said. Zhen Li, a volunteer for a gay telephone hot line in Beijing, said, "In each provincial capital, there is at least one gay working group that is active on HIV/AIDS prevention," adding, "AIDS is not the main focus of our lives, though. We use the discussion of AIDS as a way of coming together on other issues, from getting coverage of gay life in the media to starting a discussion with the society." However, many gay advocates say their strategy of using HIV/AIDS "to create greater freedom" also carries a risk that they will be blamed for the spread of the disease, according to the Times. Gao Yanning -- who taught a similar class on gay studies at Fudan's medical school -- said he and other professors have been "very careful" about this "very sensitive issue" (French, New York Times, 9/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.