After coming out to her parents, her dad told her he didn’t care.
He didn’t care if she was gay or not, even though he didn’t understand or agree.
“You’re our daughter. We will support you. We will love you no matter who you are or what you choose to be.”
This is part of Ting Wen’s story (her name has been changed at her request) and, though it happened in a small village in China, it could have just as easily happened here.
It’s a story Wen will share as a panellist during one of this week’s Pride P.E.I. events. She wants to share it in part to dispel some of the misconceptions people have about the treatment of gay people in China.
“There are just so many misunderstandings about Chinese people and China, especially the Chinese government. They think the Chinese government is totally evil, especially to gay people, but the actual thing is, it’s not.”
Wen has lived on the Island and attended UPEI for the past three years and though she finds people to be more open-minded here, she was still able to come out to her parents, close friends and co-workers while living with her girlfriend in a bigger Chinese city.
“Honestly, I lived a happy and safe life while I was in China.”
There are even online-only, Pride-type gatherings, where the community comes together for activities, to share their experience and offer support for one another, like giving out guides or tips on how to come out to parents.
Still, Wen is nervous about being “too public", which is why she chose not to use her real name in this story. She worries about how it may affect her career when she finishes university, regardless of where she works.
“I have concerns about both Canada and China. Even in Canada, yeah, by the law you can’t discriminate against my gender or my sexuality, but, in reality, there are still some people, and some companies, who are not that gay friendly.”
Even with this fear, it was important for Wen to share her experiences, especially after receiving encouragement and support from a Pride P.E.I. board member.
“Now, I want to do something. I want my voice to be heard.”
Events for this year’s Pride celebrations started Sunday with Pride church services in Charlottetown and Summerside, along with an ice cream pop-up at Kool Breeze Ice Cream Barn in Summerside. Pride Movie Night followed later Sunday evening at the Brackley Drive-In.
A look at the events planned for the P.E.I. Pride Festival 2020:
Monday, July 27
- Rainbow flag raisings
- Pride Zoom – Sexuality & Race
- Pride Unplugged – Joce Reyome
Tuesday, July 28
- Werk It Wellness Series – Yoga
- PEERS Alliance OUTspoken Pride Poetry Slam
Wednesday, July 29
- Werk It Wellness Series – Dance
- Pride Games Night.
Thursday, July 30
- Werk It Wellness Series – U-Fit
- Pride Zoom – Sobriety & Pride
- Pride Unplugged – Brandon Howard Roy.
Friday, July 31
- Drag Queen Story Time
- Pride Trivia with Katie Perry.
Saturday, Aug. 1
- PEI Pride Parade on the Waves
- Pride After Dark.
Sunday, Aug. 2
- Pride Brunch
- Pride Zoom – Sex & Disability
- Pride Unplugged – Irish Mythen.