For many members of the LGBT community having a supportive society and policies that legitimize their existence is crucial, yet in many places this does not exist. As someone who identifies as a member of the LGBT community, I always wonder what life is like for LGBT people where ever I am. This is why I was elated to find out that we were visiting Beijing’s LGBT Center.
The Beijing LGBT Center was established in 2008 and is a not for profit, community-based organization that provides mental health counseling, HIV testing, legal counseling, and also LGBT advocacy and educational services. Beijing LGBT Center is one of the few organizations focused on providing services to LGBT people. Their hope is to enable members of the LGBT community to live healthy, respected and independent lives, while also ensuring they have equal rights.
More recently their advocacy has focused on advocating for anti-discrimination laws in the workplace that secures members of the LGBT community, and depathologization of homosexuality in mental health. Members of the organization are hoping depathologization, removing same-sex gender loving and transgender identity as a mental illness, will occur in the next couple of years. They are also focused on establishing a platform for exchange between LGBT and other allies, as well as, forming partnerships with domestic and international experts. The latter is important not only for advocating for equal rights, but also for funding purposes.
Despite some of the challenges the Beijing LGBT Center may face, they are doing a lot of good work in fighting for equal rights.