The truth about being a Chinese LGBTQI international student in Australia

AMONG the thousands of Chinese students that come to Australia each year, many identify as LGBTQI. Trinity College Foundation Studies students Renata Yuen, Yihan Yang and Hazel Jiang speak to Chinese LGBTQI students to get their thoughts on what it’s like to be one in Australia.

Daniel, Cui Hua, Zhang and Yiming are four Chinese people who identify with the LGBTQI community.

Despite coming from different backgrounds and bearing different perspectives, they all share the same homeland, and the same dream for their future.

Daniel, 18, Beijing (China)

Photo: Supplied

Photo: Supplied

I’m a freshman of RMIT university, and I have been in Melbourne for four months. When I was a middle school student, I realised my real sexual orientation, which is gay.

I think the stereotype of LGBTQI people is still prevalent all around the world, since it is still not considered a part of the mainstream culture.

But compared to my hometown, people in Melbourne show more acceptance. I met my boyfriend in Melbourne and I feel more free to hang out with him here, as no one will feel awkward when I hold his hand in public.

Every morning, the most graceful thing to me is a bowl of Taiwan beef noodle, cooked by him. Yes, we live together now! Last week, we even got couple tattoos!

Now life is beautiful for us – we just get along like a real couple.

Cui Hua Huang, 17, Beijing (China)

Photo: Supplied

Photo: Supplied

I have been Melbourne for nearly four months and I [have been] in a relationship with my girlfriend for 17 months already. We were high school classmates in the past and she is the one who understands me most in the world.

I always introduce her as my soulmate to others. But actually when I first met her, in that moment, when she appeared in front of me, I knew she was ‘the one’.

After graduating from high school, I came to Melbourne and she went to England. And obviously, long distance never affected us.

In China, I rarely mentioned our relationship to other except really close friends, but here in Australia, I can tell all my friends about my sexual orientation (which is lesbian).

Now, I feel free and proudly post my girlfriend’s photos on Instagram. In these days, we have accompanied each other in many activities.

Liang Zhang, 43, Shanghai (China)

Photo: Supplied

Photo: Supplied

My name is Liang Zhang, a businessman in Sydney. I’m 43 years old now and have a family. However, I realised that I am gay.

The only reason I choose to get married is for reproduction. My wife and I live separately, but actually I’m in a relationship with another man, who has just graduated from college and lives in Beijing.

We were in a close relationship with each other for three years already. We really understand each other. Although we live in different countries, we believe that distance doesn’t mean anything.

I think the word “gay” is really controversial in China, because of the traditional stereotypes. On the contrary, I feels more confident to be gay in Australia.

Yiming Yang, 25, Xi’an (China)

Photo: Supplied

Photo: Supplied

I am a pansexual, the minority of minorities. This is the first year that I have been to Melbourne, Australia.

Pansexuals have the capability of attraction to others regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. A pansexual could be open to someone who is male, female, transgender, intersex, or genderqueer.

So most people, even LGBTs, have the stereotype that pansexuals love everyone or we want to have more than one relationship.

Actually it is hard for me to realise my sexual orientation. Before high school, I thought I am heterosexual, because my first crush was a male. Nevertheless, when I was in high school, I found that I could have the emotional capability with both male and female, so I suddenly thought, “Am I bisexual?”

Finally, I recognised that I never notice their gender when I fall in love with someone. I disregard their gender. Due to a number of stereotypes of pansexual, I am still in the closet both in China and Australia.

For me, life as a LGBTQI is almost the same between these two countries. However, I am sure I am planning to come out of the closet one day, because Australians still have a more open mind.

Maybe when I find my true love?

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This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via meld@meldmagazine.com.au.

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