Since launching in August last year, the Chinese gay dating app Blued boasts two million users. Despite having an estimated gay population of 30-40 million, and despite legalizing homosexuality in 1997, AND despite removing it from the list of mental diseases in 2001, China's policy on homosexuality remains "Triple No": "No Approval, No Disapproval, No Promotion."
Like many other geolocating dating apps, Blued allows users to see and chat with other nearby users. While Blued has the presence Grindr lacks in China and the mobile capabilities other Chinese gay dating services haven't caught up with, it also offers unique support for its users.
The team behind the app is led by Geng Le, a prominent gay rights and HIV/AIDS prevention advocate. In 2000, Le kept up a small blog, Light Blue Memory chronicling his experiences as a gay man in China. The blog was so popular that Le, a police officer, decided to launch DanLan, an online community for gay people in China to deal with the isolation many of his readers felt:
"The Internet has changed the lives of gays in China, providing a great platform for us to get to know our own kind and to stop feeling lonely. I'm very happy to be part of that dynamic force."
While Blued provides multiple ways of connecting users, it also provides news including local events and information on HIV/AIDS and on the progress of gay rights in China, where activists are still fighting for same-sex marriage and its benefits, like being able to adopt children. Le, whose office houses free government-sponsored HIV/AIDS testing continues to contribute to the slowly but increasingly accepted gay cause in China.
"I just hope all gay people in China can be happy and enjoy life with support from people around them."
And bonus! Given the striking success of Blued, the team is now working on a similar app for China's lesbian population—Pinkd!
[Daily Dot, China Daily Asia]
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