wechat sharing

Members Of The LGBT Community Discuss Sexual Harassment

Skeletons in the closet


Recently, the internet has been abuzz with news of sexual harassment allegations against noted American filmmaker Harvey Weinstein. Reports are that Weinstein allegedly used his power in the industry to force himself on more than 80 women over a period spanning decades. As the web of sexual harassment, assault, and silencing unfolded, another actor stepped forward with sexual harassment allegations. This time, a man. His alleged harasser was another man, high-profile actor Kevin Spacey, known to many for his role in House of Cards.



In an interview with Buzzfeed, Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of making sexual advances toward him when he was 14 years old and the two were working in a Broadway show. At that time, Spacey was 26 years old. Rapp told Buzzfeed that Spacey picked him up “like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold” and laid down on top of him.

After the article came out, Spacey took to Twitter to apologize and used the opportunity to come out as gay saying, “This story has encouraged me to address some other things about my life.”

The Spacey allegations and his subsequent apology have shone a much-needed light on another aspect of sexual harassment – the kind that takes place among the LGBT community.



Rapp told Buzzfeed that he has no memory of ever telling his mother about the alleged incident and that “if he had told her right away, it would have meant a larger discussion about his own sexual orientation at age 14, and he wasn’t ready to do that.” Hence, he kept the secret only mentioning it later in life and even then, only after a few drinks with close friends.

The LGBT community in Beijing has been watching the matter of Spacey closely, and the response is far from sunshine and rainbows.

“The LGBT community did feel offended by his coming out. They wrote several articles to criticize Kevin. Being gay is never an excuse for sexual harassment. It also reminds us of how sexual harassment is also common within the LGBT community, and we should all work to raise people’s awareness,” says gay feminist activist Li Maizi.



Tobal Loyola, board member at the Beijing LGBT Center, appears to agree. “The impact of his apology will have is doubled – that harassment of any kind, especially sexual harassment, must stop. And at the same time, it brings to light the fact that being true to yourself doesn’t have to be disguised as an excuse for misbehavior,” says Loyola.

According to Li, the LGBT community in China also has a problem with sexual harassment, and sometimes the harassment is from outside the community.

“Straight men harass lesbians, even though they have declared that they are gay, or they have a girlfriend,” she says. “Sometimes it also depends on your gender expression. If you behave feminine Femme, then you meet more harassment than Butch.”

“The Beijing gay community is following the issue,” affirms Kevin Gao, president of Impulse Beijing, an LGBT and Anti-AIDs NGO. “You can see from Weibo and WeChat official accounts. People are talking. Gay men have been sexually harassed in China.”



Gao recalled a famous case in Beijing about two years ago in which a man was raped by a security guard in his office building. He said the young man went to the local court and the local court accepted the case and convicted the security guard of a criminal offense. However, it was not deemed as rape but as intentional injury.

“The good news is that last year the criminal law of China was amended for the ninth time. The law expanded the scope of victims, including same-sex harassment and rape,” says Gao, pleased.

However, when asked whether there might be any positive outcomes from the Spacey incident in building awareness of sexual harassment in the LGBT community, Gao was skeptical.

“It will in America, not in China. If it happened in China, the influence would be major,” says Gao. “There has been some improvement but being gay is not recognized in the legal system. Maybe after a decade we will see more progress.”

Claudine Housen
Claudine Housen developed a passion for telling people's stories while pursuing her bachelor's degree at the University of the West Indies. Since then she has worked as a staff reporter and photographer at one of the oldest English-language newspapers in the Caribbean and spent several months at another prominent newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago. Claudine read for her master's in China and works as a copy editor and freelance writer in Beijing.


IMG 8923

By: Claudine Housen -

LGBT: Catfish Invade Online Groups
  When we were little, we were taught that there is always safety in numbers. If you must walk down a deserted street, do so with a group of friends and keep your eyes peeled. Recently, a group of...
Read More
beijing lgbt history ruby slipper

By: Robbinsadam -

Beijing's Ruby Slippers: LGBT Firsts on Display
A prop from Beijing's first  publicly performed gay-themed play, 2007 Beijing is constantly losing its past.  The Brickening of beloved hutong hangouts (and homes) is just the most visible sign,...
Read More
common racial microaggressions 20credit 20Kiyun

By: Moxiepeng -

LGBT: Sense and Sensibility about Microaggressions
It has been about 50 years since psychiatrist and Harvard University professor Chester M. Pierce first described insults and dismissals he regularly witnessed non-black Americans inflict on African...
Read More
beijing lgbt gala 2017 05

By: Robbinsadam -

Behind the Mask: Glimpses of the 2017 Beijing LGBT Center...
Three cheers for the staff and volunteers of the Beijing LGBT Center for organizing another fabulous gala fundraiser! (Full disclosure: We're one of those volunteers.) Behind masks of every shape...
Read More


Download App Now
Select your device platform and get download started
Add & Promote an Event
Tell everybody what's going on. FREE.

You've reached the limit of allowed deals. For more information

Contact us

You've reached the limit of allowed housing listing. For more information

Contact us