According to demographic studies, Chinese LGBT+ population is diverse, sizeable, and widespread. Sexual and Gender Minorities (SGM) make up about three to five percent of the total population in China. There are around seventy million LGBT+ people in China, however, due to conservative traditional culture and inadequate visibility in society, they are often overlooked in policy documents, laws, social support, and healthcare provision. Most Chinese LGBT+ people are unable to fully express their true selves in family, school, and workplace, which undoubtedly leads to a prevalence of mental wellness issues in various degrees.
Over seventy percent of sexual and gender minority people have been emotionally troubled by their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Twenty percent of people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual face a “high risk of depression” with about thirty percent tending towards mental health problems. This means that homosexual adults – both gays and lesbians – are four times more likely to become depressed than other groups, and the rate is three times higher among adolescent homosexuals.
According to an estimate by Sam Winter of Curtin University in Australia, there is more than 0.3 percent of the population in Asia and the Pacific are trans. Deduce from it, approximately three in one thousand citizens in China identify as transgender. Comparing to others from the LGBT+ community, the psychological state of transgender people, however, is overwhelmingly negative. Gender dysphoria causes great psychological distress in the transgender community, and further contributes to depression. According to National Survey of the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Population in China (2017), transgender people are statistically more likely to attempt suicide than cisgender people. Around 46.2% of transgender people have had suicidal thoughts because of their gender dysphoria, and 12.7% of them have had suicidal behavior.
Given the severity of the mental wellbeing struggles the Chinese LGBT+ community face, this report seeks to shed light on this issue. Specifically, Chapter II outlines the current mental wellbeing problems and their contributing factors. Chapter III explores the brief history of prompting the LGBT+ mental health agenda in China as well as the involvement of LGBT+ organizations in addressing LGBT+ people’s mental wellbeing needs. Chapter IV evaluates the inner working and effectiveness of LGBT+ organizations’ in-house counseling programs. Chapter V focuses on community development and public advocacy efforts of LGBT+ organizations and how such initiatives played an important role in elevating the mental wellbeing statues of the Chinese LGBT+ community. Chapter VI offers a few reflections and concluding remarks.
Table of Contents
II. The Mental Wellbeing of LGBT+ People in China: A Rough Sketch
III. Promoting Mental Wellness of Chinese LGBT+ Community
IV. Organizational Efforts: Individual and Group Counseling Programs
V. Organizational Efforts: Advocacy and Community Development Programs
VI. Discussion and Conclusion
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*This publication was written by a team of Chinese university and high school students who conducted a series of online surveys and interviews from April to June 2021.