Nothing in life is more beautiful than a newly born child – except for possibly two newly born children. Oh, and if those two children mark a step forward for LGBT rights in China? Even better.
Well that’s exactly what happened last month when Rui Cai and Cleo Wu, a lesbian Chinese couple, gave birth to twins with the help of surrogacy. It marked the first time a lesbian couple have had children through surrogacy in China.
But the journey the two woman made before getting to the diaper-changing, breast-feeding place they are in now wasn’t easy – and the couple was lucky, it is virtually impossible for homosexual couples in China to go through a similar procedure without means or resources.
The couple traveled to a clinic in Portland, Oregon in the US to undergo the surrogacy procedure. They took two eggs from Wu, used sperm from a U.S sperm bank and put them into Cai’s womb. Nine months later the Cai gave birth to twins at a private clinic in Beijing.
All of these procedures don’t come cheap and although it’s a milestone for China’s LGBT community, it's not a victory. In China today same-sex marriage is still illegal and children born to unmarried parents don’t receive a shenfenzheng (national ID) or a hukou which makes life a nightmare (this is also a huge problem for single mothers and fathers in China). On top of that, safe surrogacy choices and surrogacy abroad are expensive, so a lot of Chinese homosexual couples resort to the black market or fake marriages.
Xiao Delan, the ex-wife of a gay man, talked to China Daily last month about "sham" marriages
However the LGBT community has a growing support network on social media. Since starting a family, Cai and Wu have created a chat group on social media platforms where they review hospitals and give tips on bureaucratic loopholes to register children with the authorities and get a national ID.
According to NPR, LGBT members experience a lot of pressure from older generations in China who fear that their children will have a harder time getting jobs or competing for homes because of discrimination. A lot of the older generation also fears that a homosexual child won’t be able to give them grandchildren.
Xu Bin, founder of a Beijing-based LGBT rights group called Common Language told NPR, "Our parents' generation thinks that homosexuality is a kind of sickness or something fearful," says Wu. "But they don't think of it as a sin. What Chinese are afraid of is being different."
Hu Mingliang and his partner Sun Wenlin arrive at the District Court in Changsha to argue in China's first same-sex marriage case (which they lost)
So there’s a way to go. In the meantime we can make ourselves feel all warm and fuzzy at the sight of the adorable twins. After all, forty years ago their existence would have been impossible. So who knows what China will look like when the twins grow up?
Cover photo: NPR
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