If we had to think of only one encouraging example of social progress in Shanghai, it would, without question, be the annual celebration of diversity and tolerance that is ShanghaiPRIDE. 2014 marks the sixth year of this weeklong festival. It all kicks off tomorrow with a gay-la (hey-o!) event at M2. It wraps up with a Shindig at Sigma Film Club. In between is loads of LGBT goodness: lots of opportunities for networking, discussing issues, sharing ideas, viewing films and plays and, of course, a little healthy drunken revelry, too. These are our eight picks out of the countless events going on in the days to come. Get out and show your support.
The Pink BBQ
This is the end point for the Pride Run, a 6k sprint from Xintiandi to The Bund and back. Registration for that, unfortunately, is closed. But you can still show your support at the Pink BBQ. They'll be firing up the grills at around 11am at XTD Elevated, The Langham Hotel's fifth-floor terrace. Admission for that is 200rmb and it goes until 2pm.
We'd be lying if we told you we're recommending this comedy by Mike Bartlett because it got an Olivier Award in 2010. It's really just because we'll find any excuse to use the word "Cock" in our writing. The play tells the story of a young man torn between his longtime boyfriend and the first woman he's ever had sex with. We're guessing you can expect a humorous meditation on the fluid nature of sexuality and who we choose to love and why. East West Theatre are putting this one on at The Pearl. Premieres on Sunday, June 15. More deets here.
Transgender: Health, Rights and Community
On a more serious note, China's transgendered community is a minority within a minority, and in China, transgender issues are only beginning to be addressed. The Consulate General of The United States is hosting a panel discussion on how to give a greater voice to this part of the LGBT community. Representatives of the United Nations Development Program will be on hand to explain the work that they do in relation to transgender issues and discuss ways to help empower the transgender community in China. This one takes place on Sunday, June 15. It's at the US Consulate, so you'll have to register with your ID/passport info for security reasons. Learn more here.
The Film Festival
The Shanghai Pride Film Festival kicks off Sunday evening at The British Centre at 17/F, 968 Beijing Xi Lu. The opening night films include Brothers, which tells the story of a group of female-to-male transgendered people coming to terms with their identity and the life-changing decision to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Also that evening is a screening of The VaChina Monologues (see what they did there?), a take on Eve Ensler's acclaimed play from a Chinese perspective. For the rest of the week, there will be screenings in venues all over town. Screenings are free, but you'll have to bring ID or a passport to attend most of them because they're at consulates. Click here for a full film schedule.
On Wednesday, June 18, American drag queen and quizmistress Sister Roma will be testing Shanghai's knowledge of all things LGBT at 390 Panyu Lu. Entrance is free, and there will be prizes. What kind of prizes? No idea. Fabulous ones, most likely. It starts at 8pm and it goes to 11. Get more details on that right here.
The ShanghaiPRIDE 2014 Ladies Party
A venue like Cirque le Soir was made for Pride Week. On Thursday, June 19, they're putting on a little something for the ladies. Before midnight, it's ladies only. Gentlemen, you're welcome to attend, so long as you show up in drag. It'll be an evening of patented Cirque le Soir entertainment and debauchery and there will even be a lucky draw. Free entry. Starts at 9pm and goes late. Learn more here.
ShanghaiPride2014 Art Exhibition
Ongoing throughout the week is Shanghai Pride's 2104 Art Exhibition at Polar Bear Gallery (Bldg 4B Room 113, 50 Moganshan Lu, near Zhongtan Lu). This year's theme is "Love & Health", and the exhibit features three groups of artists whose works range in style from traditional Yunnan to new media. There will also be a silent auction throughout the duration of the exhibit. It opens tonight and there will be free wine. Check it out here.
ShanghaiPRIDE Panel Discussion
Panel discussions are the broccoli and spinach of ShanghaiPRIDE. They're not as fun as drag parties and barbecues, but hey, they're good for you; you learn something. Andaz Lounge is hosting a talk titled "Embrace Your Children". The aim is encourage a dialogue between LGBT community members and their non-LGBT family members. Parents and relatives will be encouraged to share and discuss their experiences regarding their childrens' coming out stories. Could be pretty powerful experience. Learn more about that right here.
And, of course, we've only scratched the surface. There are loads of other events going on around town. See what's going on here and here.