China Officially Approves Gay Film For The First Time

The film centers on a secret relationship between two men, one of Chinese origin and one French.

Director Wang Chao announced on Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter) that Chinese censors had approved the release of Seek McCartney, the first time they had okayed a film featuring gay principal characters.

The film, a Chinese-French co-production, centers on a secret relationship between two men, one of Chinese origin and one French.

Related: Meet The Man Fighting To Close China’s Ex-Gay Conversion Clinics

While gay characters have appeared in supporting roles in Chinese films, Seek McCartney is–according to Chao–the first time the plot centers on a homosexual couple.

seek_mccartney-1200x700_c

Consider: China only decriminalized homosexuality in 1997 and it wasn’t until 2001 that it was removed from the official list of mental illnesses in the country. Progressive they ain’t.

“This is a small step for the film department, and a big step for the members of the film industry,” Chao said in his post.

Some are less enthusiastic.

“The fact that this film can be released in theaters doesn’t mean gay films in the future will be able to released in China,” Fan Popo, an LGBT filmmaker and rights activist, told AFP on Wednesday. “China’s system for evaluating films is still very unstable, because the rules are very unclear. It depends heavily on the individual censor’s whims.”

Regardless, this is a big win for both the Chinese film industry and the LGBT community throughout China.