By Colin Machado, Jaime LeBlanc-Hadley, Sam Schmitt and Will Baskerville
For the fifth year in a row, the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou’s LGBTI outreach working group proudly coordinated a multiconsulate film festival in honor of Pride Month. Locally known as the “LGBT Film Festival,” this June event has become a staple of the region’s arts and free-speech communities. Members of south China’s LGBTI community, gay-straight allies and foreign diplomats celebrated this year by screening a number of films that offer a glimpse of LGBTI life. Participating consulates included those from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Mexico, Switzerland, the U.K. and several others. Each consulate hosted screenings throughout the city as part of a coordinated schedule. The number of interested prospective viewers sometimes exceeded venue capacity, demonstrating the growing demand for civil society engagement on this topic.
This annual event has added significance in China because many of these films are either not available in China or are released only in heavily censored versions, as with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the festival’s grand finale. Events like Guangzhou’s LGBTI Film Festival provide a rare opportunity for Chinese audiences to share their own experiences and views and to enjoy thought-provoking films that showcase each country’s challenges over the years in an effort to promote tolerance for LGBTI individuals and other historically marginalized groups.
Colin Machado is a cultural affairs officer, Jaime LeBlanc-Hadley is a political/labor officer, Sam Schmitt is a political specialist and Will Baskerville is a consular officer at ConGen Guangzhou.